Skeletal Site-Specific Response of Jawbones and Long Bones to Surgical Interventions in Rats Treated with Zoledronic Acid

Biomed Res Int. 2019 Dec 18;2019:5138175. doi: 10.1155/2019/5138175. eCollection 2019.


Bisphosphonates (BPs) have been extensively used for management of bone diseases with pathologically high resorption. Despite the great clinical benefits, a severe complication known as medication-related osteonecrosis of the jaw (MRONJ) has been reported. It is found that most of the reported MRONJ cases were limited in the jawbones/craniofacial bones instead of long bones. The present study aims to investigate the differential bone response to surgical procedures between jawbones and long bones exposed to BPs. Forty-eight skeletal mature Sprague Dawley female rats were administered oncologic dose of zoledronic acid (ZA) or normal saline for 4 weeks and then subjected to tooth extraction on the mandible and maxilla, and a bone defect creation on the femur. After surgical procedures, ZA or saline treatment were continued until sacrifice at week 2, week 4, and week 8, post-operatively. The samples were subjected to micro-computerized tomography (micro-CT) and histological assessment. Osteonecrosis was only found in jawbones in ZA-treated rats. ZA-treated rats showed significantly higher bone mineral density with greater bone volume in all surgical sites than that in the controls. The length of exposure of ZA did not seem to affect trabecular microstructure, and it only showed higher bone volume and BMD with longer healing time which is expected in the healing process.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bisphosphonate-Associated Osteonecrosis of the Jaw / drug therapy
  • Bisphosphonate-Associated Osteonecrosis of the Jaw / surgery
  • Bone Density Conservation Agents / pharmacology
  • Diphosphonates / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Femur / drug effects*
  • Femur / surgery*
  • Mandible / drug effects*
  • Mandible / surgery*
  • Maxilla / drug effects*
  • Maxilla / surgery*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Tooth Extraction / methods
  • Wound Healing / drug effects
  • Zoledronic Acid / pharmacology*


  • Bone Density Conservation Agents
  • Diphosphonates
  • Zoledronic Acid