Systemic administration of sclerostin antibody enhances bone repair in a critical-sized femoral defect in a rat model

Mandeep S Virk, Farhang Alaee, Hezhen Tang, Michael S Ominsky, Hua Zhu Ke, Jay R Lieberman
Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. American Volume 2013 April 17, 95 (8): 694-701

BACKGROUND: Systemic administration of sclerostin neutralizing antibody has led to increased bone formation in animal models of osteoporosis. The purpose of this study was to determine if systemic administration of sclerostin neutralizing antibody could increase the healing response in a critical-sized femoral defect in rats.

METHODS: Critical-sized femoral defects were created in Lewis rats, and the rats were randomized into four groups. The sclerostin antibody (Scl-Ab) treatment groups included the continuous Scl-Ab group (twenty-one animals), the early Scl-Ab group (fifteen animals), and the delayed Scl-Ab group (fifteen animals), which received sclerostin antibody (25 mg/kg) twice weekly for weeks 0 through 12; weeks 0 through 2; and weeks 2 through 4; respectively. Twenty-one animals in the control group received vehicle from weeks 0 through 12. In a subsequent study, bone turnover markers were measured at zero, two, six, and twelve weeks after surgery in rats receiving vehicle or sclerostin neutralizing antibody for twelve weeks (fifteen rats per group). The quality of bone formed was evaluated with radiographs, microcomputed tomography, biomechanical testing, and histologic and histomorphometric analysis.

RESULTS: In the primary study, four of fifteen defects in the continuous (zero to twelve-week) Scl-Ab group, three of fifteen defects in the early (zero to two-week) Scl-Ab group, and four of fifteen defects in the delayed (two to four-week) Scl-Ab group healed at twelve weeks, while none of the defects healed in the control group. In both studies, treatment with sclerostin antibody for twelve weeks demonstrated a significant increase in new bone formation (p < 0.05) compared with the control group. The three treatment groups did not differ significantly with respect to the healing rates and the quality of new bone formed in the defect. The serum markers of bone formation were significantly elevated in the animals in the continuous Scl-Ab group (p < 0.05) compared with the controls.

CONCLUSIONS: Administration of sclerostin neutralizing antibody led to increased bone formation, resulting in complete healing of femoral defects in a small subset of rats, with a majority of the animals not healing the defect by twelve weeks.

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