We examined paired iliac crest bone biopsy specimens from patients with osteoporosis before and after treatment with daily injections of 400 U of recombinant, human parathyroid hormone 1–34 [PTH(1–34)]. Two groups of patients were studied. The first group was comprised of 8 men with an average age 49 years. They were treated with PTH for 18 months. The second group was comprised of 8 postmenopausal women with an average age 54 years. They were treated with PTH for 36 months. The women had been and were maintained on hormone replacement therapy for the duration of PTH treatment. Patients were supplemented to obtain an average daily intake of 1500 mg of elemental calcium and 100 IU of vitamin D. The biopsy specimens were subjected to routine histomorphometric analysis and microcomputed tomography (CT). Cancellous bone area was maintained in both groups. Cortical width was maintained in men and significantly increased in women. There was no increase in cortical porosity. There was a significant increase in the width of bone packets on the inner aspect of the cortex in both men and women. This was accompanied by a significant decrease in eroded perimeter on this surface in both groups. Micro‐CT confirmed the foregoing changes and, in addition, revealed an increase in connectivity density, a three dimensional (3D) measure of trabecular connectivity in the majority of patients. These findings indicate that daily PTH treatment exerts anabolic action on cortical bone in patients with osteoporosis and also can improve cancellous bone microarchitecture. The results provide a structural basis for the recent demonstration that PTH treatment reduces the incidence of osteoporosis‐related fractures.
Keywords: parathyroid hormone; osteoporosis; bone microarchitecture; human