Treatment of monkeys and humans with parathyroid hormone (PTH) 1-84 stimulates skeletal remodeling, which increases trabecular (Tb) bone mineral density (BMD) but decreases cortical (Ct) BMD at locations where these bone types predominate. We report the effects of daily PTH treatment (5, 10, or 25 μg/kg) of ovariectomized (OVX) rhesus monkeys for 16 months on bone structure and biomechanical properties at the proximal femur, a mixed trabecular and cortical bone site. PTH reversed the OVX-induced decrease in BMD measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry at the proximal femur, femoral neck, and distal femur. Peripheral quantitative computed tomography confirmed a significant decrease in Ct.BMD and an increase in Tb.BMD at the total proximal femur and at the proximal and distal femoral metaphyses. The decrease in Ct.BMD resulted primarily from increased area because cortical bone mineral content was unaffected by PTH. Histomorphometry revealed that PTH significantly increased the trabecular bone formation rate (BFR) as well as trabecular bone volume and number. PTH did not affect periosteal or haversian BFR at the femoral neck, but cortical porosity was increased slightly. PTH had no effects on stiffness or peak load measured using a shear test, whereas work-to-failure, the energy required to fracture, was increased significantly. Thus, PTH treatment induced changes in trabecular and cortical bone at the proximal femur that were similar to those occurring at sites where these bone types predominate. Together, the changes had no effect on stiffness or peak load but increased the energy required to break the proximal femur, thereby making it more resistant to fracture.
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