Osteoprotegerin (OPG) is a novel secreted member of the tumor necrosis factor receptor family which plays a crucial role in negative regulation of osteoclastic bone resorption. OPG-deficient (OPG-/-) mice develop severe osteoporosis caused by significant enhancement of bone resorption by osteoclasts. We investigated the effect of administering bisphosphonate on mandibular growth and development in OPG-/- mice. Eight-week-old male OPG-/- mice and wild-type (WT) mice were administered bisphosphonate (1.25 mg/kg body weight) intraperitoneally once every 3 days for 30 days. All bone formation-related parameters and bone resorption-related parameters were significantly lower in OPG-/- mice with bisphosphonate than in those without bisphosphonate. The volume of the whole condyle and the mandibular length in OPG-/- mice without bisphosphonate were significantly smaller than in WT mice without bisphosphonate. Bisphosphonate treatment of the OPG-/- mice resulted in an increase in the volume of the mandibular condyle and mandibular ramus length. In fact, the mandibular ramus length in OPG-/- mice with bisphosphonate was similar to the length in WT mice without bisphosphonate. Histologically, the surface irregularity of the mandibular condyle that was observed in the OPG-/- mice without bisphosphonate tended to be less marked in the OPG-/- mice with bisphosphonate, and the proportion of the area of the cartilage layer relative to the whole condyle was significantly larger in OPG-/- mice with bisphosphonate than in those without bisphosphonate. In conclusion, bisphosphonate treatment results in an increase in mandibular condylar dimensions and normalization of mandibular ramus growth.
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