Based on its proven anabolic effects on bone in osteoporosis patients, recombinant parathyroid hormone (PTH 1-34) has been evaluated as a potential therapy for skeletal repair. In animals, the effect of PTH 1-34 has been investigated in various skeletal repair models such as fractures, allografting, spinal arthrodesis and distraction osteogenesis. These studies have demonstrated that intermittent PTH 1-34 treatment enhances and accelerates the skeletal repair process via a number of mechanisms, which include effects on mesenchymal stem cells, angiogenesis, chondrogenesis, bone formation and resorption. Furthermore, PTH 1-34 has been shown to enhance bone repair in challenged animal models of aging, inflammatory arthritis and glucocorticoid-induced bone loss. This pre-clinical success has led to off-label clinical use and a number of case reports documenting PTH 1-34 treatment of delayed-unions and non-unions have been published. Although a recently completed phase 2 clinical trial of PTH 1-34treatment of patients with radius fracture has failed to achieve its primary outcome, largely because of effective healing in the placebo group, several secondary outcomes are statistically significant, highlighting important issues concerning the appropriate patient population for PTH 1-34therapy in skeletal repair. Here, we review our current knowledge of the effects of PTH 1-34 therapy for bone healing, enumerate several critical unresolved issues (e.g., appropriate dosing regimen and indications) and discuss the long-term potential of this drug as an adjuvant for endogenous tissue engineering.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)545-552
Number of pages8
JournalCell and Tissue Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2012


  • Allograft
  • Fracture insufficiency
  • Parathyroid hormone (PTH)
  • Skeletal repair


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