Odanacatib (ODN) is a bone resorption inhibitor which differs from standard antiresorptives by its ability to reduce bone resorption without decreasing bone formation. What is the reason for this difference? In contrast with other antiresorptives, such as alendronate (ALN), ODN targets only the very last step of the resorption process. We hypothesize that ODN may therefore modify the remodeling events immediately following osteoclastic resorption. These events belong to the reversal phase and include recruitment of osteoblasts, which is critical for connecting bone resorption to formation. We performed a histomorphometric study of trabecular remodeling in vertebrae of estrogen-deficient rabbits treated or not with ODN or ALN, a model where ODN, but not ALN, was previously shown to preserve bone formation. In line with our hypothesis, we found that ODN treatment compared to ALN results in a shorter reversal phase, faster initiation of osteoid deposition on the eroded surfaces, and higher osteoblast recruitment. The latter is reflected by higher densities of mature bone forming osteoblasts and an increased subpopulation of cuboidal osteoblasts. Furthermore, we found an increase in the interface between osteoclasts and surrounding osteoblast-lineage cells. This increase is expected to favor the osteoclast-osteoblast interactions required for bone formation. Regarding bone resorption itself, we show that ODN, but not ALN, treatment results in shallower resorption lacunae, a geometry favoring bone stiffness. We conclude that, compared to standard antiresorptives, ODN shows distinctive effects on resorption geometry and on reversal phase activities which positively affect osteoblast recruitment and may therefore favor bone formation.
Calcified Tissue International, 2014, Vol 94, Issue 2, p. 212-222