An 18-month randomized double-blind study was conducted in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis to compare the effects of once-daily teriparatide 20 μg with alendronate 10 mg on bone histomorphometry. Biopsies were obtained from 42 patients. Indices of bone formation were significantly higher after 6 or 18 months of teriparatide compared with alendronate treatment.
Introduction: Alendronate and teriparatide increased BMD, assessed by DXA, by different mechanisms of action, supported by changes in biochemical markers of bone turnover. The purpose of this cross-sectional study was to explore the differential effects of these two osteoporosis treatments at the bone tissue level by examining bone histomorphometric parameters of bone turnover after either 6 or 18 months of treatment.
Materials and Methods: Patients were a cohort from a randomized parallel double-blind study conducted to compare the effects of once-daily teriparatide 20 μg and alendronate 10 mg in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis. Transiliac crest bone biopsies were obtained after tetracycline double labeling from 42 patients treated for 6 months (n = 23) or 18 months (n = 14); 5 additional patients were biopsied from contralateral sides at 6 and 18 months. Biopsy specimens adequate for quantitative analysis were analyzed by 2D histomorphometry from 17 patients at 6 months (teriparatide, n = 8; alendronate, n = 9) and 15 patients at 18 months (teriparatide, n = 8; alendronate, n = 7). Data were analyzed by two-sample tests.
Results: Histomorphometric indices of bone formation were significantly and markedly greater in the teriparatide group than in the alendronate group at 6 and 18 months, whereas indices of bone resorption were only significantly greater in the teriparatide group than in the alendronate group at 6 months. Bone formation and activation frequency were significantly lower at 18 months compared with 6 months in the teriparatide group, returning to levels comparable with untreated postmenopausal women. In the teriparatide group, the peak in histomorphometric bone formation indices coincided with peak levels for N-terminal propeptide of type I collagen, a biochemical marker of bone formation. The degree of mineralization was lower at 18 months than at 6 months with treatment in both groups but was not different between groups.
Conclusions: These results confirm the opposite mechanisms of action of teriparatide and alendronate on bone remodeling and confirm the bone formation effect of teriparatide.