Bone-site-specific responses to zoledronic acid

J. A.F. Vermeer, G. A.P. Renders, M. A. van Duin, Ineke D.C. Jansen, L. F. Bakker, S. A. Kroon, T. J. de Vries*, V. Everts

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objectives: Bisphosphonates are widely used to treat bone diseases such as osteoporosis. However, they may cause osteonecrosis of the jaw. Here, we investigated whether in vivo exposure to bisphosphonates has a different effect on long bone and jaw osteoclasts, and on the turnover of these different bones. Materials and Methods: Zoledronic acid (0.5 mg kg−1 weekly) was administered intraperitoneally to 3-month-old female mice for up to 6 months. The effects on the number of osteoclasts, bone mineralization and bone formation were measured in the long bones and in the jaw. Results: Long-term treatment with zoledronic acid reduced the number of jaw bone marrow cells, without affecting the number of long bone marrow cells. Zoledronic acid treatment did not affect the number of osteoclasts in vivo. Yet, the bisphosphonate increased bone volume and mineral density of both long bone and jaw. Interestingly, 6 months of treatment suppressed bone formation in the long bones without affecting the jaw. Unexpectedly, we showed that bisphosphonates can cause molar root resorption, mediated by active osteoclasts. Conclusions: Our findings provide more insight into bone-site-specific effects of bisphosphonates and into the aetiology of osteonecrosis of the jaw. We demonstrated that bisphosphonates can stimulate osteoclast activity at the molar roots.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126-133
Number of pages8
JournalOral Diseases
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017
Externally publishedYes

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