Differential effects of biologic versus bisphosphonate inhibition of wear debris-induced osteolysis assessed by longitudinal micro-CT

Ryosuke Tsutsumi, Colleen Hock, C. Dustin Bechtold, Steven T. Proulx, Susan V. Bukata, Hiromu Ito, Hani A. Awad, Takashi Nakamura, Regis J. O'Keefe, Edward M. Schwarz

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46 Scopus citations


Aseptic loosening of total joint replacements is caused by wear debris-induced osteoclastic bone resorption, for which bisphosphonates (BPs) and RANK antagonists have been developed. Although BPs are effective in preventing metabolic bone loss, they are less effective for inflammatory bone loss. Because this difference has been attributed to the antiapoptotic inflammatory signals that protect osteoclasts from BP-induced apoptosis, but not RANK antagonists, we tested the hypothesis that osteoprotegerin (OPG) is more effective in preventing wear debris-induced osteolysis than zoledronic acid (ZA) or alendronate (Aln) in the murine calvaria model using in vivo micro-CT and traditional histology. Although micro-CT proved to be incompatible with titanium (Ti) particles, we were able to demonstrate a 3.2-fold increase in osteolytic volume over 10 days induced by polyethylene (PE) particles versus sham controls (0.49± 0.23mm3 versus 0.15 ± 0.067mm3; p < 0.01). Although OPG and high-dose ZA completely inhibited this PE-induced osteolysis (p < 0.001), pharmacological doses of ZA and Aln were less effective but still reached statistical significance (p < 0.05). Traditional histomorphometry of the sagital suture area of calvaria from both Ti and PE-treated mice confirmed the remarkable suppression of resorption by OPG (p < 0.001) versus the lack of effect by physiological BPs. The differences in drug effects on osteolysis were largely explained by the significant difference in osteoclast numbers observed between OPG versus BPs in both Ti- and PE-treated calvaria; and linear regression analyses that demonstrated a highly significant correlation between osteolysis volume and sagittal suture area versus osteoclast numbers (p < 0.001).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1340-1346
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Orthopaedic Research
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2008


  • 3D micro-CT
  • Aseptic loosening
  • Bisphosphonate (BP)
  • Osteolysis
  • Osteoprotegerin (OPG)
  • Wear debris


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