Journal of cellular physiology

Bisphosphonate treatment of type I diabetic mice prevents early bone loss but accentuates suppression of bone formation.

PMID 25641511


Type I (T1) diabetes is an autoimmune and metabolic disease associated with bone loss. Previous studies demonstrate that T1-diabetes decreases osteoblast activity and viability. Bisphosphonate therapy, commonly used to treat osteoporosis, is demonstrated to inhibit osteoclast activity as well as osteoblast apoptosis. Therefore, we examined the effect of weekly alendronate treatments on T1-diabetes induced osteoblast apoptosis and bone loss. Bone TUNEL assays identified that alendronate therapy prevents the diabetes-induced osteoblast death observed during early stages of diabetes development. Consistent with this, alendronate treatment for 40 days was able to prevent diabetes-induced trabecular bone loss. Alendronate was also able to reduce marrow adiposity in both control diabetic mice compared to untreated mice. Mechanical testing indicated that 40 days of alendronate treatment increased bone stiffness but decreased the work required for fracture in T1-diabetic and alendronate treated mice. Of concern at this later time point, bone formation rate and osteoblast markers, which were already decreased in diabetic mice, were further suppressed in alendronate-treated diabetic mice. Taken together, our results suggest that short-term alendronate treatment can prevent T1-diabetes-induced bone loss in mice, possibly in part by inhibiting diabetes onset associated osteoblast death, while longer treatment enhanced bone density but at the cost of further suppressing bone formation in diabetic mice.