Bisphosphonate Effects and the Bone Remodeling Transient



Published randomized clinical trial data for alendronate, given at a dose of 10 mg/day, were fitted by a computer algorithm to the currently accepted model of the bone remodeling process. The purpose was to determine how much of the reported improvement in lumbar spine bone density could be attributed to the inevitable remodeling transient and how much might represent positive bone balance. Very good fits to the clinical data were easily obtained, indicating the general validity of current syntheses of bone remodeling biology. The best fit was provided by simulations produced by combinations of 36–38% suppression of remodeling activation and positive remodeling balance ranging from 1.1 to 1.4% per year. Whole body bone biomarker changes would have suggested both a slightly greater degree of suppression and a higher baseline level of remodeling than could be provided by any of the simulations if they were to fit the clinical data. Either regional skeletal heterogeneity or lack of a one-to-one quantitative relationship between remodeling changes and biomarker changes may explain the discrepancies between the two approaches.