Alendronate reduces bone toughness of ribs without significantly increasing microdamage accumulation in dogs following 3 years of daily treatment

Matthew R. Allen, Susan Reinwald, David B. Burr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

75 Scopus citations


Reduced bone toughness, the energy absorption capacity of the tissue, has been consistently documented in vertebrae of animals treated with a wide range of bisphosphonate doses. Data regarding toughness changes in the rib are conflicting, with one report showing no effect and another showing a significant reduction following treatment of beagle dogs with high doses of bisphosphonates. The goal of this study was to evaluate changes in bone toughness and various other tissue-level properties of the rib following 3 years of bisphosphonate treatment with doses at and above those used to treat osteoporosis. Skeletally mature intact beagle dogs were treated daily for 3 years with vehicle (VEH), alendronate 0.2 mg/kg (ALN0.2), or alendronate 1.0 mg/kg (ALN1.0). The lower ALN dose approximates, on a milligram per kilogram basis, that used for treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis, with the higher dose being five times higher. Ribs were assessed for biomechanical properties, bone turnover rate, microdamage, density, and geometry. Toughness was significantly lower with ALN1.0 (-33%) but not ALN0.2 (-19%) compared to VEH, while neither ultimate stress nor modulus differed among the groups. Bone density, geometry, and structural biomechanical properties were similar among the three groups. There was no significant difference in overall microdamage accumulation among the groups. Intracortical bone formation rate was significantly lower than VEH in both ALN groups (-69% to -90%). These data show that while rib cortical bone experiences significant reductions in turnover following bisphosphonate treatment, it is only in animals treated with doses above those used to treat osteoporosis that toughness is significantly compromised.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)354-360
Number of pages7
JournalCalcified Tissue International
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2008



  • Biomechanical property
  • Bisphosphonate
  • Cortical bone
  • Microcrack
  • Remodeling suppression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology

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