Preliminary evidence of early bone resorption in a sheep model of acute burn injury: An observational study

Gordon L. Klein, Yixia Xie, Yi Xian Qin, Liangjun Lin, Minyi Hu, Perenlei Enkhbaatar, Lynda F. Bonewald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Treatment with bisphosphonates within the first 10 days of severe burn injury completely prevents bone loss. We therefore postulated that bone resorption occurs early post burn and is the primary explanation for acute bone loss in these patients. Our objective was to assess bone for histological and biomechanical evidence of early resorption post burn. We designed a randomized controlled study utilizing a sheep model of burn injury. Three sheep received a 40 % total body surface area burn under isoflurane anesthesia, and three other sheep received cotton-smoke inhalation and served as control. Burned sheep were killed 5 days post procedure and controls were killed 2 days post procedure. Backscatter scanning electron microscopy was performed on iliac crests obtained immediately postmortem along with quantitative histomorphometry and compression testing to determine bone strength (Young's modulus). Blood ionized Ca was also determined in the first 24 h post procedure as was urinary CTx. Three of three sheep killed at 5 days had evidence of scalloping of the bone surface, an effect of bone resorption, whereas none of the three sheep killed at 2 days post procedure had scalloping. One of the three burned sheep killed at 5 days showed quantitative doubling of the eroded surface and halving of the bone volume compared to sham controls. Mean values of Young's modulus were approximately one third lower in the burned sheep killed at 5 days compared to controls, p = 0.08 by unpaired t test, suggesting weaker bone. These data suggest early post-burn bone resorption. Urine CTx normalized to creatinine did not differ between groups at 24 h post procedure because the large amounts of fluids received by the burned sheep may have diluted urine creatinine and CTx and because the urine volume produced by the burned sheep was threefold that of the controls. We calculated 24 h urinary CTx excretion, and with this calculation CTx excretion/24 h in the burned sheep was nearly twice that of the controls. Moreover, whole blood ionized Ca measured at 3- to 6-h intervals over the first 24 h in both burn and control sheep showed a 6 % reduction versus baseline in the burned sheep with <1 % reduction in the control animals. This sheep model was previously used to demonstrate upregulation of the parathyroid calcium-sensing receptor within the timeframe of the present study. Because both early bone resorption, supported by this study, and calcium-sensing receptor upregulation, consistent with the observed reduction in blood ionized Ca, are mediated by proinflammatory cytokines that are present as part of the post-burn systemic inflammatory response, we may postulate that post-burn upregulation of the parathyroid calcium-sensing receptor may be an adaptive response to clear the blood of excess calcium liberated by cytokine-mediated bone resorption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)136-141
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Bone and Mineral Metabolism
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2014


  • Bone resorption
  • Burns
  • Calcium-sensing receptor
  • Inflammation
  • Sheep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Endocrinology


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