Bisphosphonate therapy has been shown to preserve the osteonecrotic femoral head in experimental and short-term clinical studies. However, a lack of new bone formation within the preserved femoral head due to the inhibition of bone remodeling is a concern. The purpose of this investigation was to determine if combined therapy consisting of ibandronate and bone morphogenetic protein-2 (BMP-2) can preserve the shape of the femoral head and stimulate new bone formation in an immature animal model of ischemic osteonecrosis.Methods:
Ischemic osteonecrosis was surgically induced in immature pigs. Four groups were studied: normal, treated with saline solution, treated with ibandronate, and treated with both ibandronate and BMP-2 (the ibandronate + BMP-2 group). The animals were killed eight weeks after surgery. Radiographic, histological, and histomorphometric assessments were performed.Results:
Radiographic assessment showed better preservation of the femoral head shape—i.e., a 54% (CI [95% confidence interval]: 22%, 86%) higher mean epiphyseal quotient—in the ibandronate + BMP-2 group than in the saline group. Histological assessment showed increased trabecular bone in the ibandronate + BMP-2 group as compared with that in the saline group. The mean values for trabecular bone volume, thickness, and number and for osteoblast surface were an average of 400% (CI: 242%, 558%), 212% (CI: 166%, 259%), 71% (CI: 6%, 137%), and 2402% (CI: 2113%, 2693%) higher, respectively, in the ibandronate + BMP-2 group than in the saline group. The osteoclast number was significantly reduced in the ibandronate + BMP-2 group compared with that in the saline group (−59% [CI: −75%, −42%]). The mean osteoblast surface value in the ibandronate + BMP-2 group was significantly higher (2567% [CI: 2258%, 2877%]) than that in the ibandronate group. Heterotopic ossifications were present in the capsule of the hip joint in the ibandronate + BMP-2 group.Conclusions:
A combination of ibandronate and BMP-2 decreased femoral head deformity while stimulating bone formation in an immature animal model of ischemic osteonecrosis.Clinical Relevance:
The findings provide a proof of concept that a combination of antiresorptive and anabolic agents can significantly improve bone healing and decrease deformity following ischemic osteonecrosis in the immature femoral head of a pig. Additional studies are needed to investigate whether heterotopic ossification can be prevented.