This study aimed to investigate the effect of long-term suppression of bone resorption by bisphosphonate on the microstructure, accumulation of microdamage, and mechanical properties of trabecular bone. Twenty-nine 1-year-old beagles (15 males, 14 females) were divided into three groups. The control group (CNT) was treated daily with vehicle, and the other two groups were treated with incadronate at a dose of 0.3 mg/kg/day (LOW) or 0.6 mg/kg/day (HIGH) orally for 3 years. After death, the second thoracic vertebra was scanned with microcomputed tomography (micro-CT) and assigned to histomorphometric and microdamage measurements. The fourth lumbar vertebra was mechanically tested by compression. Incadronate concentration in bone was measured in the 11th thoracic vertebra. Micro-CT analysis demonstrated a platelike trabecular structure and increased concave surface of trabeculae in the thoracic vertebra of incadronate-treated groups. Three-year incadronate treatment significantly suppressed trabecular activation rates by 56% in LOW and 67% in HIGH without impairment of mineralization, and increased microdamage accumulation in both incadronate-treated groups. Trabecular bone volume was significantly increased in both LOW and HIGH groups, and vertebral strength was significantly increased in the HIGH group compared with the CNT group. However, intrinsic material properties such as normalized ultimate stress and normalized toughness were reduced in incadronate-treated groups. Incadronate concentration in bone was dose-dependent. This study suggests that long-term suppression of bone remodeling increases microdamage accumulation, but this is not necessarily associated with vertebral fragility because of compensated increase of bone mass and improved microarchitecture.
Keywords: microdamage; bone remodeling; bisphosphonate; histomorphometry; microarchitecture