Strontium ranelate (SR) is one therapeutic option for reducing risk of fracture in osteoporosis. The effects of SR treatment on hydroxyapatite (HA) previously altered by bisphosphonate (BP) administration remain to be established. Patients who have received long-term BP treatment and present with persistent high fracture risk are of particular interest. Paired iliac crest biopsies from 15 patients post-BP therapy were subjected to a baseline biopsy and a follow-up biopsy after treatment with 2g SR day⁻¹ after either 6 months (n=5) or 12 months (n=10). Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry scans, serum parameters and biochemical markers were obtained. Quantitative backscattered electron imaging and energy-dispersive X-ray analyses combined with micro-X-ray fluorescence determinations were performed to observe any mineralization changes. Static 2-D histomorphometry was carried out to evaluate cellular and structural indices. After 6 months of SR treatment, increases in osteoid surface and strontium content were observed, but no other indices showed significant change. After 12 months of SR treatment, there was a significant increase in bone volume and trabecular thickness, and further increases in strontium content and backscattered signal intensity. These structural changes were accompanied by increased numbers of osteoblasts and increased osteoid surface and volume. Additionally, low bone resorption, as measured by beta-cross-laps, and a low number of osteoclasts were observed. SR treatment led to increased strontium content within the BP-HA nanocomposites and to increased osteoid indices and bone volume, which is indicative of newly formed bone, while osteoclasts were still suppressed. These data points suggest that SR might be considered as a therapeutic option for patients following long-term BP treatment.
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