Author(s): Favia G, Pilolli GP, Maiorano E
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Abstract INTRODUCTION: Patients undergoing bisphosphonate therapies may develop jaw lesions, mainly consisting in bone necrosis. No effective treatment has been proposed so far for such lesions, nor is there a uniform concept on the possible pathogenesis of this entity. METHODS: The study population included 31 patients with bisphosphonate-related osteonecrosis of the jaws and 10 healthy donors. All patients underwent to jaw bone biopsy and the tissue samples were divided into two parts, one of which was fixed, decalcified and routinely processed. The second part was fixed, embedded in methylmetacrylate, cut and stained with methylene blue and basic fuchsine. All samples were subjected to light and confocal microscopic examination and to histomorphometric analyses to evaluate differences in bone structure between the two samples groups. RESULTS: Three main histological patterns were identified in ONJ patients: 1 - Areas with active acute inflammation, characterized by predominance of soft tissues, inflammatory infiltrate, acellular necrotic debris, thin-walled and dilated blood vessel, intensely basophilic bone spiculae with scalloped borders showing prominent bone resorption. 2 - Areas characterized by predominance of bony structures showing wide acellular necrotic sequestra and large, scalloped Haversian canals containing inflammatory cells. 3 - Non-necrotic areas contained larger amounts of bone, showing increased trabecular thickness, inter-osteonic bone deposition and smaller and fewer Haversian canals. These differences were more evident after comparing the histomorphometrical data of samples from ONJ patients with controls. Also, lamellar bone from treated patients was composed of bigger osteones containing larger osteocytes. Two different types of newly-formed woven bone, mainly showing centrifugal spatial orientation, were easily detectable in these areas. Osteoclast-like cells detected in inflammatory areas from treated patients were small and contained few nuclei, but they were rare to absent in non-necrotic bone from the same patients. CONCLUSIONS: These features point at a peculiar process of bone remodeling in patients undergoing bisphosphonate therapy, which showed scarce osteoclastic activity and subsequent deposition of newly-formed bone. The latter would be made up of thicker bone structures supplied by fewer blood vessels. Consequently, in case of increased metabolic requests, this modified bone would not be supported by adequate blood supply, thus leading to necrosis and superinfection.
This article was published in Bone
and referenced in Journal of Biomedical Engineering and Medical Devices