Biological Test for Menopausal Osteoporosis
Benjamin Klein, Nathan Rojansky
Depts. of Experimental Surgery and of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Hadassah- Hebrew University Medical Center, Ein Kerem, Jerusalem
Osteoporosis has become a major public health problem in many western countries in which about 25% of women by the age of 65 will have had osteopenic fractures. The most important contributing factor to this condition is loss of gonadal function. This progressive disease, characterized by reduction in bone mass, may be prevented by estrogen replacement therapy. While there are several methods of diagnosing the disease when already established, there is no method that can identify women at high risk of developing osteoporosis. We have developed a biological test in which the serum of postmenopausal women is added to rat osteoprogenitor cell culture and its influence on proliferation, differentiation and mineralization of bone cells is determined. The serum of 20 menopausal women was examined by the biological test and the results compared to the findings of dual photon absorptiometry. This showed that rapid bone-losers had a significantly lower mineralization index as compared to nonosteopenic women (p<0.0001). The proliferation index (cell count) and alkaline phosphatase activity did not show significant differences between osteopenic and nonosteopenic groups. This preliminary study showed that a test based on serum reacting with a culture of bone cells to induce mineralization may be of value in the diagnosis of osteoporosis.