Mechanical ablation of bone marrow in young rats induces rapid but transient bone growth, which can be enhanced and maintained for three weeks by the administration of parathyroid hormone (PTH). Additionally, marrow ablation, followed by PTH treatment for three months leads to increased cortical thickness. In this study, we sought to determine whether PTH enhances bone formation after marrow ablation in aged rats. Aged rats underwent unilateral femoral marrow ablation and treatment with PTH or vehicle for four weeks. Both femurs from each rat were analyzed by X-ray and pQCT, then analyzed either by microCT, histology or biomechanical testing. Marrow ablation alone induced transient bone formation of low abundance that persisted over four weeks, while marrow ablation followed by PTH induced bone formation of high abundance that also persisted over four weeks. Our data confirms that the osteo-inducive effect of marrow ablation and the additive effect of marrow ablation, followed by PTH, occurs in aged rats. Our observations open new avenues of investigations in the field of tissue regeneration. Local marrow ablation, in conjunction with an anabolic agent, might provide a new platform for rapid site-directed bone growth in areas of high bone loss, such as in the hip and wrist, which are subject to fracture.
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