Background: Legg-Calve-Perthes disease (LCPD) causes osteonecrosis of the femoral head (ONFH) by temporarily interrupting the blood supply in children. Even with potential toward bone regeneration and revascularization in LCPD, the prognosis depends on the deformity of femoral heads, and successful rate with the current treatments varies. Antiresorptive therapy such as bisphosphonate, which maintains mechanical stability of the femoral head by inhibiting necrotic bone resorption, has proven effective in animal models. However, concerns on simultaneous decline in bone turnover rate still leave room for improvement. Strontium ranelate with dual effect on inhibiting bone resorption and accelerating bone formation is presumed to be an ideal therapy for reserving sphericity of femoral heads in LCPD. Materials and Methods: In this study of a rat model of ONFH, randomized groups of rats treated with strontium ranelate or normal saline are compared at different time points in analysis of radiological, histological, and bone morphometric changes. Gait analysis was also compared between the two groups. Results: The group treated with strontium ranelate recovered their normal gait earlier than the control group did. Bone density, trabecular thickness, sphericity of the femoral head, and bone regeneration potential were also preserved in the strontium ranelate group. Conclusion: Strontium ranelate effectively prevented collapse of the ischemic femoral head and enhanced trabecular thickness in the rat model of LCPD. Hopefully, this preclinical experiment can improve the effectiveness of strontium ranelate treatment for pediatric ONFH.
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