Fluoride Action Network


Fluoride stimulates trabecular bone formation, whereas bisphosphonates reduce bone resorption and turnover. Fracture prevention has not been convincingly demonstrated for either treatment so far. We compared the effects of 1-yr treatment of 9-mo-old minipigs with sodium fluoride (NaF, 2 mg/kg/d p.o.) or alendronate (ALN, 4 amino-1-hydroxybutylidene bisphosphonate monosodium, 1 mg/kg/d p.o.) on the biomechanical and histomorphometric properties of pig bones. As expected, NaF increased and ALN decreased bone turnover, but in these normal animals neither changed mean bone volume. NaF reduced the strength of cancellous bone from the L4 vertebra, relative to control animals, and the stiffness (resistance to deformation) of the femora, relative to the ALN group. In the ALN-treated animals, there was a strong positive correlation between bone strength and L5 cancellous bone volume, but no such correlation was observed in the NaF group. Furthermore, the modulus (resistance to deformation of the tissue) was inversely related to NaF content and there was a relative decrease in bone strength above 0.25 mg NaF/g bone. Moreover, within the range of changes measured in this study, there was an inverse correlation between bone turnover, estimated as the percentage of osteoid surface, and modulus. These findings have relevant implications regarding the use of these agents for osteoporosis therapy.