To examine the influence of osteoblast function on aluminum-induced neo-osteogenesis in the mammalian species, we compared the effects of aluminum in sham-operated and thyroparathyroidectomized (TPTX) beagles. TPTX dogs received sufficient calcium carbonate and calcitriol to maintain normal plasma calcium and calcitriol levels, but developed evidence of decreased osteoblast recruitment and activity, including diminished osteoid-covered trabecular bone surface (3.22 +/- 0.21 vs. 10.95 +/- 1.30%) and a decreased osteoblast number (27.8 +/- 8.1 vs. 139.0 +/- 26.0/mm). Administration of aluminum (1.25 mg/kg i.v., three times/wk) increased the serum aluminum levels in both sham (1,087.0 +/- 276.0 vs. 2.7 +/- 0.8 micrograms/liter) and TPTX animals (2,786.0 +/- 569.0 vs. 3.6 +/- 0.8 micrograms/liter) above normal but did not alter the plasma calcium, creatinine, or PTH from control levels in either sham or TPTX dogs. After 8 wk of therapy, however, bone biopsies from sham-operated beagles displayed evidence of neo-osteogenesis including an increased bone volume (47.0 +/- 1.0 vs. 30.4 +/- 0.9%) and trabecular number (4.1 +/- 0.2 vs. 3.2 +/- 0.2/mm). Much of the enhanced volume resulted from deposition of poorly mineralized woven bone (9.9 +/- 2.7%). In contrast, biopsies from aluminum-treated TPTX animals exhibited significantly less evidence of ectopic bone formation. In this regard, bone (35.5 +/- 1.7%) and woven tissue volume (1.4 +/- 0.8%) as well as trabecular number (3.3 +/- 0.1/mm) were significantly less than those of the aluminum-treated controls. These observations illustrate that aluminum reproducibly stimulates neo-osteogenesis and induces a positive bone balance. However, this effect apparently depends on the availability of a functional osteoblast pool which, if depleted by TPTX, limits the expression of aluminum-induced new bone formation.


L D Quarles, H J Gitelman, M K Drezner


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