Osteoporosis is a chronic systemic bone disease of growing relevance due to the on-going demographic change. Since the underlying regulatory mechanisms of this critical illness are still not fully understood and treatment options are not satisfactorily resolved, there is still a great need for osteoporosis research in general and animal models in particular. Ovariectomized rodents are standard animal models for postmenopausal osteoporosis and highly attractive due to the possibility to specifically modify their genetic background. However, some aspects can only be addressed in large animal models; such as metaphyseal fracture healing and advancement of orthopedic implants. Among other large animal models sheep in particular have been proven invaluable for osteoporosis research in this context. In conclusion, today we are able to influence the bone metabolism in animals causing a more or less pronounced systemic bone loss and structural deterioration comparable to the situation found in patients suffering from osteoporosis. However, there is no perfect model for osteoporosis, but a variety of models appropriate for answering specific questions. Though, the appropriateness of an animal model is not only defined in regard to the similarity to human physiology and the disease itself, but also in regard to acquisition, housing requirements, handling, costs, and particularly ethical concerns and animal welfare.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)