Time course of disassociation of bone formation signals with bone mass and bone strength in sclerostin antibody treated ovariectomized rats

Bone. 2017 Apr;97:20-28. doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2016.12.003. Epub 2016 Dec 8.


Sclerostin antibodies increase bone mass by stimulating bone formation. However, human and animal studies show that bone formation increases transiently and returns to pre-treatment level despite ongoing antibody treatment. To understand its mechanism of action, we studied the time course of bone formation, correlating the rate and extent of accrual of bone mass and strength after sclerostin antibody treatment. Ovariectomized (OVX) rats were treated with a sclerostin-antibody (Scle-ab) at 20mg/kg sc once weekly and sacrificed at baseline and 2, 3, 4, 6, and 8weeks post-treatment. In Scle-ab treated rats, serum PINP and OCN rapidly increased at week 1, peaked around week 3, and returned to OVX control levels by week 6. Transcript analyses from the distal femur revealed an early increase in bone formation followed by a sustained decrease in bone resorption genes. Lumbar vertebral (LV) osteoblast surface increased 88% by week 2, and bone formation rate (BFR/BS) increased 138% by week 4. Both parameters were below OVX control by week 8. Bone formation was primarily a result of modeling based formation. Endocortical and periosteal BFR/BS peaked around week 4 at 313% and 585% of OVX control, respectively. BFR/BS then declined but remained higher than OVX control on both surfaces through week 8. Histomorphometric analyses showed LV-BV/TV did not further increase after week 4, while BMD continued to increase at LV, mid femur (MF), and femoral neck (FN) through week 8. Biomechanical tests showed a similar improvement in bone strength through 8weeks in MF and FN, but bone strength plateaued between weeks 6 and 8 for LV. Our data suggest that bone formation with Scle-ab treatment is rapid and modeling formation dominated in OVX rats. Although transient, the bone formation response persists longer in cortical than trabecular bone.

Keywords: Bone formation; Bone histomorphometry; Osteoporosis; Sclerostin antibody.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies / pharmacology*
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins / immunology*
  • Bone Resorption / blood
  • Bone Resorption / pathology
  • Bone and Bones / drug effects
  • Bone and Bones / pathology*
  • Bone and Bones / physiopathology*
  • Cancellous Bone / drug effects
  • Cancellous Bone / pathology
  • Densitometry
  • Female
  • Femur / drug effects
  • Femur / pathology
  • Femur / physiopathology
  • Genetic Markers / immunology*
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / drug effects
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / pathology
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / physiopathology
  • Organ Size / drug effects
  • Osteogenesis / drug effects*
  • Ovariectomy*
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Time Factors
  • Wnt Proteins / genetics
  • Wnt Proteins / metabolism


  • Antibodies
  • Biomarkers
  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins
  • Genetic Markers
  • Sost protein, rat
  • Wnt Proteins