• bone quality;
  • bone strength;
  • bisphosphonate treatment;
  • μCT;
  • non-human primates


The dose-dependent effect of ibandronate treatment on bone mass and architecture was assessed in a large animal study of OVX monkeys using μCT for quantitative bone morphometry and biomechanical testing for measures of bone strength. The study showed that intermittent ibandronate preserved lumbar spine bone quality and strength in these animals after 16 months of treatment.

Introduction: Ibandronate is a bisphosphonate, which is a class of compounds that, in pharmacologically active doses, not only suppresses bone resorption and turnover but also prevents loss of bone mass and strength in the ovariectomized (OVX) rat.

Materials and Methods: We evaluated the effects of ibandronate on bone mass and architecture in the OVX cynomolgus macaque. Sixty-one adult female macaques were divided into five groups (N = 11–15): sham control, OVX control, and OVX low- (10 μg/kg), medium- (30 μg/kg), and high- (150 μg/kg) dose ibandronate. Treatment was administered by intravenous bolus injection every 30 days for 16 months starting at ovariectomy. This dosing schedule is equivalent to a 3-monthly dosing regimen in human subjects over 4 years. Animals were killed at the conclusion of the study, and excised bone specimens of the first lumbar vertebra (L1) were evaluated for quantitative bone densitometry, morphometry, and mechanical properties. Architectural parameters were assessed by μCT including direct 3D bone morphometry. A measure of specimen strength was obtained using destructive compression testing.

Results and Conclusions: A significant loss of bone mass and related changes in bone architecture after ovariectomy resulted in a reduction of whole bone strength as expressed by high correlations between architectural and mechanical properties. In this analysis, BMC was the best single predictor of whole bone strength (r2 = 67%). Nevertheless, including architectural indices in a multiple linear regression analysis increased that prediction to 88%. With respect to the treatment, the medium- and high-dose groups were not significantly different from the sham group for all bone mineral and structural parameters. Additionally, significant differences were seen for all measured parameters between the high-dose group and the OVX group, and for some parameters, between the medium-dose group and the OVX group. Intermittent ibandronate treatment effectively and dose-dependently prevented bone loss, architectural deterioration, and strength reduction in the lumbar spine of OVX monkeys.