Near-infrared fluorescent probe traces bisphosphonate delivery and retention in vivo

J Bone Miner Res. 2010 Aug;25(8):1748-58. doi: 10.1002/jbmr.66.


Bisphosphonate use has expanded beyond traditional applications to include treatment of a variety of low-bone-mass conditions. Complications associated with long-term bisphosphonate treatment have been noted, generating a critical need for information describing the local bisphosphonate-cell interactions responsible for these observations. This study demonstrates that a fluorescent bisphosphonate analogue, far-red fluorescent pamidronate (FRFP), is an accurate biomarker of bisphosphonate deposition and retention in vivo and can be used to monitor site-specific local drug concentration. In vitro, FRFP is competitively inhibited from the surface of homogenized rat cortical bone by traditional bisphosphonates. In vivo, FRFP delivery to the skeleton is rapid, with fluorescence linearly correlated with bone surface area. Limb fluorescence increases linearly with injected dose of FRFP; injected FRFP does not interfere with binding of standard bisphosphonates at the doses used in this study. Long-term FRFP retention studies demonstrated that FRFP fluorescence decreases in conditions of normal bone turnover, whereas fluorescence was retained in conditions of reduced bone turnover, demonstrating preservation of local FRFP concentration. In the mandible, FRFP localized to the alveolar bone and bone surrounding the periodontal ligament and molar roots, consistent with findings of osteonecrosis of the jaw. These findings support a role for FRFP as an effective in vivo marker for bisphosphonate site-specific deposition, turnover, and long-term retention in the skeleton.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Assay
  • Diphosphonates / administration & dosage*
  • Diphosphonates / pharmacology*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Delivery Systems*
  • Femur / drug effects
  • Fluorescent Dyes / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Pamidronate
  • Spectroscopy, Near-Infrared*
  • Tibia / drug effects
  • Time Factors


  • Diphosphonates
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Pamidronate