Tenofovir treatment at 30 mg/kg/day can inhibit cortical bone mineralization in growing rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta)

Alesha B. Castillo, Alice F. Tarantal, Mitchell R. Watnik, R. Bruce Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The acyclic nucleoside phosphonate analog, 9-[2-(R)-(phosphonomethoxy)propyl]adenine (PMPA; Tenofovir; Gilead Sciences, Inc., Foster City, CA), has been shown to effectively inhibit simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) replication in rhesus macaques by blocking reverse transcription. However, chronic long-term tenofovir treatment at 30 mg/kg/day, intended to reduce viral replication and illness, has been shown to result in bone deformities and spontaneous fractures in rhesus monkeys. Based on these findings, we studied the effects of tenofovir treatment and pathogenic SIV infection on cortical bone remodeling in rhesus monkeys. Tibiae from tenofovir-treated or untreated, SIV-infected or uninfected, rhesus macaques were evaluated for bone microdamage and remodeling. We found that tenofovir treatment had a significant effect on osteoid (unmineralized bone) seam width in tibial cross-sections. Regardless of SIV infection status, half of the tenofovir-treated animals had significantly increased osteoid seam widths in tibial cortical bone resulting in an osteomalacia-like condition. Pathogenic SIV infection significantly increased tibial resorption cavity density, and this increase was normalized by tenofovir treatment. These results suggest that tenofovir treatment at 30 mg/kg/day inhibits mineralization of newly formed bone. SIV infection results in increased tibial resorption cavity density, while tenofovir treatment tends to minimize this increase. Both defective mineralization of newly formed bone and increased resorption cavity density may result in greater bone fragility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1185-1189
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Orthopaedic Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2002


  • Cortical bone
  • Histomorphometry
  • Mineralization
  • Rhesus monkey
  • Tenofovir

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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