Effects of short-term alendronate treatment on the three-dimensional microstructural, physical, and mechanical properties of dog trabecular bone

J. H. Hu, M. Ding, K. Søballe, J. E. Bechtold, C. C. Danielsen, J. S. Day, Ivan Hvid*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


The bisphosphonate, alendronate, is well known for its potent inhibition of osteoclast-mediated bone resorption. It has been used clinically for the treatment of osteoporosis and has also recently been used to reduce osteolysis around prostheses in a canine revision model of implant loosening (femoral condyle). In this study, the effects of alendronate on trabecular bone properties were assessed in dogs at an oral dose of 0.5 mg/kg per day over a 12 week period, and compared with control dogs. Cubic cancellous bone specimens were produced from lumbar vertebrae (L-1 and L-2) and bilateral proximal humeri. These specimens were scanned using a high-resolution microcomputed tomography (micro-CT) system. From accurate data sets, three-dimensional microstructural properties were calculated and physical and mechanical properties were determined. Treatment with alendronate increased bone volume fraction by 9.5%, 7.7%, 7.4%, and 18.4%, respectively, in L-1, L-2, humeral greater tuberosity, and humeral head trabecular bone. In the lumbar vertebrae, the alendronate-treated trabeculae were thicker and lower in bone surface-to-volume ratio. In the greater tuberosity, the alendronate-treated trabeculae were thicker, lower in bone surface-to-volume ratio, and less anisotropic. In the humeral head, the alendronate-treated trabeculae were thicker, less anisotropic, lower in surface density, and showed decreased trabecular separation. Alendronate significantly increased apparent density and collagen density in the lumbar vertebrae and humeral heads, and significantly decreased collagen concentration in the vertebrae. In the lumbar vertebrae, Young's modulus in the cephalocaudal direction, ultimate stress, and failure energy were significantly increased in the alendronate-treated group. The changes in mechanical properties in the humeral head trabecular bone were similar to those seen in the lumbar vertebrae. Our results demonstrate that alendronate increases the mechanical properties of healthy canine trabecular bone after short-term treatment. The physical and microstructural changes of trabecular bone are consistent with the significantly increased mechanical properties.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)591-597
Number of pages7
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Alendronate
  • Bisphosphonate
  • Dog trabecular bone
  • Mechanical property
  • Microcomputed tomography (micro-CT) scanning
  • Microstructural property
  • Physical property


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