Cortical porosity in patients with hyperparathyroidism has raised the concern that intermittent parathyroid hormone (PTH) given to treat osteoporotic patients may weaken cortical bone by increasing its porosity. We hypothesized that treatment of ovariectomized (OVX) cynomolgus monkeys for up to 18 months with recombinant human PTH(1–34) [hPTH(1–34)] LY333334 would significantly increase porosity in the midshaft of the humerus but would not have a significant effect on the strength or stiffness of the humerus. We also hypothesized that withdrawal of PTH for 6 months after a 12‐month treatment period would return porosity to control OVX values. OVX female cynomolgus monkeys were given once daily subcutaneous (sc) injections of recombinant hPTH(1–34) LY333334 at 1.0 μg/kg (PTH1), 5.0 μg/kg (PTH5), or 0.1 ml/kg per day of phosphate‐buffered saline (OVX). Sham OVX animals (sham) were also given vehicle. After 12 months, PTH treatment was withdrawn from half of the monkeys in each treatment group (PTH1‐W and PTH5‐W), and they were treated for the remaining 6 months with vehicle. Double calcein labels were given before death at 18 months. After death, static and dynamic histomorphometric measurements were made intracortically and on periosteal and endocortical surfaces of sections from the middiaphysis of the left humerus. Bone mechanical properties were measured in the right humeral middiaphysis. PTH dose dependently increased intracortical porosity. However, the increased porosity did not have a significant detrimental effect on the mechanical properties of the bone. Most porosity was concentrated near the endocortical surface where its mechanical effect is small. In PTH5 monkeys, cortical area (Ct.Ar) and cortical thickness (Ct.Th) increased because of a significantly increased endocortical mineralizing surface. After withdrawal of treatment, porosity in PTH1‐W animals declined to sham values, but porosity in PTH5‐W animals remained significantly elevated compared with OVX and sham. We conclude that intermittently administered PTH(1–34) increases intracortical porosity in a dose‐dependent manner but does not reduce the strength or stiffness of cortical bone.
parathyroid hormone(1–34); porosity; biomechanics; cortical bone; osteoporosis