Age-related bone fractures are usually painful and have highly negative effects on a geriatric patient’s functional status, quality of life, and survival. Currently, there are few analgesic therapies that fully control bone fracture pain in the elderly without significant unwanted side effects. However, another way of controlling age-related fracture pain would be to preemptively administer an osteo-anabolic agent to geriatric patients with high risk of fracture, so as to build new cortical bone and prevent the fracture from occurring. A major question, however, is whether an osteo-anabolic agent can stimulate the proliferation of osteogenic cells and build significant amounts of new cortical bone in light of the decreased number and responsiveness of osteogenic cells in aging bone. To explore this question, geriatric and young mice, 20 and 4 months old, respectively, received either vehicle or a monoclonal antibody that sequesters sclerostin (anti-sclerostin) for 28 days. From days 21 to 28, animals also received sustained administration of the thymidine analog, bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU), which labels the DNA of dividing cells. Animals were then euthanized at day 28 and the femurs were examined for cortical bone formation, bone mineral density, and newly borne BrdU+ cells in the periosteum which is a tissue that is pivotally involved in the formation of new cortical bone. In both the geriatric and young mice, anti-sclerostin induced a significant increase in the thickness of the cortical bone, bone mineral density, and the proliferation of newly borne BrdU+ cells in the periosteum. These results suggest that even in geriatric animals, anti-sclerostin therapy can build new cortical bone and increase the proliferation of osteogenic cells and thus reduce the likelihood of painful age-related bone fractures.
- bone fracture
- functional status
- quality of life
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Medicine
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine