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J Musculoskelet Neuronal Interact., 2005; 5(2): 110-8, PMID: 15951626

The benefit of combining non-mechanical agents with mechanical loading: a perspective based on the Utah Paradigm of Skeletal Physiology

Year: 2005

Jee WS, Tian XY
Division of Radiobiology, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, UT 84108-1218, USA. webster.jee@hsc.utah.edu

Abstract

The Utah Paradigm of Skeletal Physiology with its key component, the mechanostat hypothesis, suggest plausible explanations of some of the tissue-level changes occurring from combining selected non-mechanical agents (anabolic and anti-resorptive/( re)modeling agents) with mechanical loading (osteogenic exercise) to increase bone mass and strength. The evidence for combining selected anabolic agents like parathyroid hormone, prostaglandin E(2), growth hormone, etc. with mechanical loading can increase bone mass is strong. Anabolic agents influence loading-related bone formation changes in a permissive manner and modulate (increase) the responsiveness of bone tissue to mechanical loading by changing thresholds for bone formation and resorption. However, any beneficial effect of combining selected anti-resorptive/(re)modeling agents like estrogen with loading is marginal, especially in adult skeletons. Postulated changes in modeling and remodeling thresholds (set points) and known direct effects on bone cells by non-mechanical agents may explain the observed tissue-level changes associated with large and minor increases in bone mass. Although the pharmaceutical industry has avoided considering osteogenic loading in the treatment of osteoporosis, a methodical dose-response study of anabolic agents combined with loading should: (1) provide opportunities for therapeutic intervention to imitate or enhance the osteogenic response to loading in order to correct osteopenias; (2) provide the potential to diminish the dosage of drugs required to induce bone formation in ways that enhanced efficacy and reduced any side effects; and (3) improve the quality of life and reduce the risk of falls by improving balance, gait speed and muscle strength with a non-mechanical agent like GH that could improve both muscle and bone mass and strength. Lastly, more studies are needed which determine bone strength instead of only "mass" in aged skeletons so one can assess how effective such treatments would reduce the risk of fracture in the clinic.

GID: 1641; Last update: 20.11.2008
More information: Original Article