We developed a cyclic PTH regimen with repeated cycles of 1-week on and off daily PTH injection and explored its effects on bone strength, BMD, bone markers, and bone structure in mice. Cyclic protocols produced 60–85% of the effects achieved by daily protocols with 57% of the total PTH given, indicating more economic use of PTH. The study supports further exploration of cyclic PTH regimens for the treatment of osteoporosis.
Introduction: To minimize the cost and the catabolic action of hPTH(1-34), a cyclic PTH regimen with repeated 3-month cycles of on-and-off daily injection of hPTH(1-34) was developed in humans and shown to be as effective as a daily regimen in increasing vertebral BMD. However, changes in BMD may not adequately predict changes in bone strength. A murine model was developed to explore the efficacy of a cyclic PTH regimen on bone strength in association with other bone variables.
Materials and Methods: Twenty-week-old, intact, female C57BL/J6 mice (n = 7/group) were treated with (1) daily injection with vehicle for 7 weeks (control); (2) daily injection with hPTH(1-34) (40 μg/kg/day) for 7 weeks (daily PTH); and (3) daily injection with hPTH(1-34) and vehicle alternating weekly for 7 weeks (cyclic PTH). BMD was measured weekly by DXA, and serum bone markers, bone structure, and strength were measured at 7 weeks.
Results: Daily and cyclic PTH regimens increased BMD at all sites by 16–17% and 9–12%, respectively (all p < 0.01). The most dramatic effect of cyclic PTH occurred during the second week of treatment when PTH was off, with femoral and tibial BMD continuing to increase to the same extent as that produced by daily PTH. Both daily and cyclic PTH regimens significantly increased osteocalcin (daily, 330%; cyclic, 260%), mTRACP (daily, 145%; cyclic, 70%), femoral cortical width (daily, 23%; cyclic, 13%), periosteal circumference (daily, 5%; cyclic, 3.5%), and bone strength (max load: daily, 48%; cyclic, 28%; energy absorbed: daily, 103%; cyclic, 61%), respectively. Femoral bone strength was positively correlated with BMD, bone markers, and cortical structure. Neither regimen had an effect on vertebral bone strength. Although actual effects of cyclic PTH were 60–85% of those produced by daily PTH, the effects of cyclic PTH per unit amount administered were slightly greater than those of daily PTH for most measures.
Conclusions: PTH-enhanced femoral bone strength is positively correlated with its effects on femoral BMD, bone markers, and bone structure. Cyclic PTH regimens represent a potential economic use of PTH and warrant further study.