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Title: The effects of stroke on the skeleton
Author: Poole, Kenneth
ISNI:       0000 0004 2733 9602
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2006
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Stroke is now a well-recognised risk factor for hip fracture. The aim of this study was to elucidate the pathophysiological mechanisms by which hip bone loss occurs in hemiplegia and to test the efficacy of a novel pharmaceutical strategy for preserving bone in stroke patients. Patients who were admitted acutely with a first-ever stroke and who remained unable to walk one week later were studied prospectively for 12 months, with a series of bone mineral density measurements of the hips (dual energy X-ray absorptiometry) in the context of a randomised controlled trial. Untreated patients (n=13) experienced a decline in bone mineral density at the hemiplegic hip that was rapid, with the greatest losses in the trochanteric region of the affected side. This bone loss was prevented by the administration of a single 4 mg dose of the intravenous bisphosphonate, zoledronate (n=14) within 35 days of stroke onset. Computed tomography of the hips in 8 untreated patients more than a year after stroke confirmed that the greatest difference between sides was in the trochanteric region. Serum vitamin D measurements in 44 patients with acute stroke were substantially lower than healthy elderly controls, with 77% of patients in the insufficient range, suggesting that vitamin D insufficiency preceded stroke. Histomorphometric analysis of iliac bone biopsies from hemiplegic patients 10 weeks following stroke showed normal erosion parameters, but a striking decrease in the surface extent of osteoid when compared with healthy reference values. Unexpectedly, treatment with zoledronate was associated with a significantly higher osteoid surface compared with placebo treated subjects in cancellous, endocortical and cortical bone. Sclerostin, a newly discovered osteocyte-derived protein was studied using immunohistochemical staining of the bone biopsies. Sclerostin is known to be an inhibitor of active osteoblasts, which led to the hypothesis that in stroke, the proportion of osteocytes expressing sclerostin would be inversely associated with the surface extent of bone formation. Histological analysis revealed widespread expression of sclerostin in osteocytes and their canaliculi in all subjects. However, examining individual osteocytes in relation to bone forming surfaces revealed that newly embedded osteocytes did not express sclerostin until after primary mineralisation. It is proposed that this precise pattern and timing of sclerostin expression by osteocytes allows bone formation to continue locally (during remodelling), but prevents excessive new bone formation elsewhere, as seen in the single gene disorder sclerosteosis.
Supervisor: Reeve, Jonathan Sponsor: Medical Research Council ; National Osteoporosis Society (NOS)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Bone ; Osteoporosis ; Osteocyte ; Stroke ; Sclerostin ; Hemiplegia ; Computed tomography ; Histology ; Immunohistochemistry ; Histomorphometry ; Vitamin D