Parathyroid hormone and growth hormone have additive or synergetic effect when used as intervention treatment in ovariectomized rats with established osteopenia

Li Mosekilde, L. Tornvig, J. S. Thomsen, P. B. Orhii, M. J. Banu, D. N. Kalu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


The severely osteoporotic human skeleton is characterized by thin cortices and a very fragile cancellous framework. To increase the biomechanical competence of such a skeleton, powerful anabolic agents are needed. The aim of the present study was to compare the effect of parathyroid hormone (PTH), growth hormone (GH) and combination treatment with PTH and GH in an aged, rat model with established osteopenia. Furthermore, envelope- and site-specific effects of the two agents are described. Twelve-month-old virgin F344 rats were divided into six groups with 11 animals per group: (1) baseline; (2) sham-operated + solvent vehicle (s.v.) (sham); (3) ovariectomized + s.v. (ovx); (4) ovx + GH 2.5 mg/kg body weight per day; (5) ovx + PTH 80 μg/kg body weight per day; and (6) ovx + GH and PTH treatment. Group 1 were killed to establish baseline values. Groups 2 (sham) and 3 (ovx) were killed after 24 weeks. Groups 4, 5, and 6 were allowed to develop osteopenia for 16 weeks before treatment was initiated. Treatment was given for a period of 8 weeks. The effects of GH, PTH, and GH + PTH cotherapy were measured by biomechanical testing at four different skeletal sites: lumbar vertebra; femoral diaphysis; femoral neck; and distal femoral metaphysis. In addition, static histomorphometry was performed at the middiaphyseal region. Ovx induced a loss of bone strength at all sites, but this was significant only at the femoral diaphysis and distal metaphysis. GH could reverse the loss of strength at the diaphysis, but not at the metaphysis. PTH, on the other hand, reversed the loss of strength to values significantly over ovx at all four sites. At the metaphysis, PTH monotherapy increased strength to above sham levels. However, GH + PTH cotherapy showed additive or synergistic effects at the four tested sites, leading to strength values significantly over sham at all these sites. Static histomorphometry showed that GH exerted its main effect on the periosteal envelope and PTH on the endocortical envelope; for this reason, the GH + PTH combination treatment had an additive or synergistic effect. We conclude that GH and PTH have a very pronounced anabolic effect when given in cotherapy. Therefore, this treatment regime seems promising in the clinical situation for management of patients with severe, established osteoporosis. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)643-651
Number of pages9
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Bone mass
  • Bone strength
  • Combination therapy
  • Growth hormone (GH)
  • Osteopenia
  • Parathyroid hormone (PTH)
  • Rat model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Histology


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