Scientific article
Open access

Bisphosphonate-associated osteonecrosis of the jaw: a key role of inflammation?

Published inBone, vol. 45, no. 5, p. 843-852
Publication date2009

Osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ) can be associated with nitrogen-containing bisphosphonates (NBPs) therapy. Various mechanisms of NBP-associated ONJ have been proposed and there is currently no consensus of the underlying pathogenesis. The detailed medical and dental histories of 30 ONJ patients treated with NBPs for malignant diseases (24) or osteoporosis (6) were analyzed. The necrotic bone was resected and analyzed histologically after demineralization. In 10 patients the perinecrotic bone was also resected and processed without demineralization. Alveolar bone samples from 5 healthy patients were used as controls. In 14 ONJ patients, serial technetium-99m-methylene diphosphonate scintigraphic scans were also available and confronted to the other data. Strong radionuclide uptake was detected in some patients several months before clinical diagnosis of ONJ. The medullary spaces of the necrotic bone were filled with bacterial aggregates. In the perinecrotic bone, the bacteria-free bone marrow characteristically showed an inflammatory reaction. The number of medullary inflammatory cells taken as an index of inflammation allowed us to discriminate two inflammation grades in the ONJ samples. Low-grade inflammation, characterized by marrow fibrosis and low inflammatory cells infiltration, increased numbers of TRAP(+) mono- and multineacleated cells was seen in patients with bone exposure<2 cm(2). High-grade inflammation, associated with larger lesions, showed amounts of tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase(+)/calcitonin receptor(-) mono- and multinucleated cells, osteocyte apoptosis, hypervascularization and high inflammatory cell infiltration. The clinical extent of ONJ was statistically linked to the numbers of inflammatory cell. Taken together these data suggest that bone necrosis precedes clinical onset and is an inflammation-associated process. We hypothesize that from an initial focus, bone damage spreads centrifugally, both deeper into the jaw and towards the mucosa before the oral bone exposure and the clinical diagnosis of ONJ.

Citation (ISO format)
LESCLOUS, Philippe et al. Bisphosphonate-associated osteonecrosis of the jaw: a key role of inflammation? In: Bone, 2009, vol. 45, n° 5, p. 843–852. doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2009.07.011
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal1873-2763

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