Investigations of the effects of high bone turnover on the L3 vertebra were carried out, using an ovariectomized (OVX) ovine model of early stage osteoporosis. To assess the contribution of bone turnover to the biomechanics of L3. Clinically, dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) is used to measure bone mineral density (BMD). However, this can only predict 60% to 70% of bone strength; the remainder is due to bone quality. There is currently little information available on how strength is affected by changes in bone quality parameters, particularly bone turnover. Turnover can be assessed clinically using biochemical markers; however, this provides systemic values, whereas localized values are required to predict site-specific fracture risk. Thirty-eight sheep were assigned to 2 groups (control, n = 19; OVX, n = 19). Both groups were intravenously administered a fluorochrome dye on the day of surgery and 3, 6, 9, and 12 months thereafter, to label sites of bone turnover. After 12 months, animals were killed and the spinal columns harvested. L3 vertebrae were scanned using DEXA. Bone turnover was quantified using epifluorescence microscopy, and microarchitecture was assessed by microCT scanning. Compressive testing was used to characterize the mechanical properties of the vertebrae. BMD and microarchitecture were unchanged in OVX compared with controls. However, bone turnover, as measured by fluorochrome labeled sites, was significantly increased in the OVX group in cortical and trabecular compartments. As a consequence, the biomechanical properties were significantly reduced in that group. These findings show that OVX resulted in changes in bone turnover, which reduced biomechanical properties in a model of early stage osteoporosis. These differences were present despite microarchitecture or BMD remaining unchanged. In the future, the ability to assess site-specific bone turnover would greatly enhance the accuracy with which fracture risk could be predicted.
Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland ->