Osteoporosis International

, Volume 22, Issue 4, pp 1115–1121 | Cite as

Osteopenia in the maxillofacial area: a study in sheep

  • E. Veigel
  • R. J. Moore
  • M. R. Zarrinkalam
  • D. Schulze
  • S. Sauerbier
  • R. Schmelzeisen
  • P. J. Voss
Original Article



Osteoporosis is a major public health problem worldwide. Its significance in the fields of traumatology and implantology of the maxillofacial area requires investigation. A large animal model was used to assess bone loss in the lumbar spine and mandible.


Osteoporosis is a prevalent disease characterized by low bone mass and microarchitectural deterioration of bone tissue. Osteoporosis-related fractures represent a major public health burden. The presence and relevance of osteoporosis in the maxillofacial area remain controversial. Research in humans is limited by difficulties in finding large homogenous study groups and, due to ethical considerations, numerous animal models have been used in osteoporosis research. The aim of this study was to assess a sheep model of generalized osteopenia for changes in the maxillofacial area.


Bone loss was induced in ten Merino sheep by ovariectomy, intramuscular administration of glucocorticoids, and a calcium-reduced diet. Five untreated animals served as controls. Bone mineral density (BMD) was assessed by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry at the lumbar spine at baseline and after 1, 3, 6, 9, and 12 months. Lumbar and mandibular bone biopsies were obtained and analyzed with microcomputed tomography.


Lumbar BMD decreased progressively in the intervention group and was most significantly low after 6 months (p < 0.001). Lumbar trabecular bone showed a significant decrease in bone volume (BV)/tissue volume (TV; p < 0.05) in the inducted group. Significant changes were found in both analyzed mandibular regions for BV/TV (p < 0.05). Regional variations were found for other parameters in the mandible. The cortical width was substantially reduced in the intervention group (p < 0.001).


Microstructural changes occurring in sheep as a result of induction seem to have a generalized nature. This sheep model meets the criteria for further investigation in the maxillofacial area.


Animal model Maxillofacial Micro-CT Osteopenia Osteoporosis Sheep 


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Copyright information

© International Osteoporosis Foundation and National Osteoporosis Foundation 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. Veigel
    • 1
    • 3
  • R. J. Moore
    • 2
  • M. R. Zarrinkalam
    • 2
  • D. Schulze
    • 1
  • S. Sauerbier
    • 1
  • R. Schmelzeisen
    • 1
  • P. J. Voss
    • 1
  1. 1.Albert-Ludwigs-UniversitätFreiburgGermany
  2. 2.Adelaide Centre for Spinal Research, Institute for Medical and Veterinary Sciences (IMVS)AdelaideAustralia
  3. 3.Abteilung für Mund-, Kiefer- und GesichtschirurgieAlbert-Ludwigs-UniversitätFreiburgGermany

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