Recombinant human parathyroid hormone (1-34) [teriparatide] improves both cortical and cancellous bone structure

J Bone Miner Res. 2003 Nov;18(11):1932-41. doi: 10.1359/jbmr.2003.18.11.1932.


Histomorphometry and microCT of 51 paired iliac crest biopsy specimens from women treated with teriparatide revealed significant increases in cancellous bone volume, cancellous bone connectivity density, cancellous bone plate-like structure, and cortical thickness, and a reduction in marrow star volume.

Introduction: We studied the ability of teriparatide (rDNA origin) injection [rhPTH(1-34), TPTD] to improve both cancellous and cortical bone in a subset of women enrolled in the Fracture Prevention Trial of postmenopausal women with osteoporosis after a mean treatment time of 19 months. This is the first report of a biopsy study after treatment with teriparatide having a sufficient number of paired biopsy samples to provide quantitative structural data.

Methods: Fifty-one paired iliac crest bone biopsy specimens (placebo [n = 19], 20 microg teriparatide [n = 18], and 40 microg teriparatide [n = 14]) were analyzed using both two-dimensional (2D) histomorphometry and three-dimensional (3D) microcomputed tomography (microCT). Data for both teriparatide treatment groups were pooled for analysis.

Results and conclusions: By 2D histomorphometric analyses, teriparatide significantly increased cancellous bone volume (median percent change: teriparatide, 14%; placebo, -24%; p = 0.001) and reduced marrow star volume (teriparatide, -16%; placebo, 112%; p = 0.004). Teriparatide administration was not associated with osteomalacia or woven bone, and there were no significant changes in mineral appositional rate or wall thickness. By 3D cancellous and cortical bone structural analyses, teriparatide significantly decreased the cancellous structure model index (teriparatide, -12%; placebo, 7%; p = 0.025), increased cancellous connectivity density (teriparatide, 19%; placebo, - 14%; p = 0.034), and increased cortical thickness (teriparatide, 22%; placebo, 3%; p = 0.012). These data show that teriparatide treatment of postmenopausal women with osteoporosis significantly increased cancellous bone volume and connectivity, improved trabecular morphology with a shift toward a more plate-like structure, and increased cortical bone thickness. These changes in cancellous and cortical bone morphology should improve biomechanical competence and are consistent with the substantially reduced incidences of vertebral and nonvertebral fractures during administration of teriparatide.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Biopsy
  • Bone Density / drug effects*
  • Bone and Bones / drug effects*
  • Bone and Bones / metabolism
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Femur Neck / drug effects
  • Femur Neck / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / drug effects
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postmenopause / physiology
  • Teriparatide / pharmacology*


  • Teriparatide