[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite the growing knowledge on the mechanisms of fracture healing, delayed healing and non-union formation remain a major clinical challenge. Animal models are needed to study the complex process of normal and impaired fracture healing and to develop new therapeutic strategies. Whereas in the past mainly large animals have been used to study normal and impaired fracture healing, nowadays rodent models are of increasing interest. New osteosynthesis techniques for rat and mice have been developed during the last years, which allowed for the first time stable osteosynthesis in these animals comparable to the standards in large animals and humans. Based on these new implants, different models in rat and mice have been established to study delayed healing and non-union formation. Although in humans the terms delayed union and non-union are well defined, in rodents definitions are lacking. However, especially in scientific studies clear definitions are necessary to develop a uniform scientific language and allow comparison of the results between different studies. In this consensus report, we define the basic terms "union", "delayed healing" and "non-union" in rodent animal models. Based on a review of the literature and our own experience, we further provide an overview on available models of delayed healing and non-union formation in rats and mice. We further summarise the value of different approaches to study normal and delayed fracture healing as well as non-union formation, and discuss different methods of data evaluation.
European cells & materials 01/2013; 26:1-14. · 4.56 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Introduction: Local application of bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) at the fracture site is known to stimulate bone regeneration. However, recent studies illustrate that the BMP-initiated mineralization may be enhanced by additional mechanical stimulation. Therefore, bone healing was monitored in vivo in order to investigate the effect of mechanical loading on the initiation and maturation of mineralization after cytokine treatment. We hypothesized that the mechanical stimulation would further enhance the efficacy of BMP2 treatment. Method: Female Sprague-Dawley rats underwent a 5-mm defect, stabilized with an external fixator. Type I collagen scaffolds containing 50 μg of BMP2 diluted in a solvent or solvent only were placed into the defects. The BMP2-treated specimens and control specimens were then each divided into two groups: one that underwent mechanical loading and a nonloaded group. In vivo loading began immediately after surgery and continued once per week for the entire 6-week experimental period. For all groups, the newly formed callus tissue was quantitatively evaluated first by in vivo microcomputed tomography at 2, 4, and 6 weeks and further by histologic or histomorphometric analysis at 6 weeks postoperation. Results: Mechanical stimulation with BMP2 treatment significantly enhanced mineralized tissue volume and mineral content at 2 weeks. Histological analysis demonstrated a significantly greater area of fibrous connective tissue including bone marrow in the stimulated group, suggesting reconstitution of the endosteal canal and more advanced bone remodeling present in the mechanical loaded group. Both groups receiving BMP2 underwent massive bone formation, achieving bony bridging after only 2 weeks, while both control groups, receiving solvent only, revealed a persisting nonunion, filled with fibrous connective tissue, prolapsed muscle tissue, and a sealed medullary canal at week 6. Conclusion: Mechanical loading further enhanced the efficacy of BMP2 application evidenced by increased mineralized tissue volume and mineralization at the stage of bony callus bridging. These data suggest that already a minimal amount of mechanical stimulation through load bearing or exercise may be a promising adjunct stimulus to enhance the efficacy of cytokine treatment in segmental defects. Further studies are required to elucidate the mechanistic interplay between mechanical and biological stimuli.
Tissue Engineering Part A 08/2012; · 4.64 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study addresses the hypothesis that callus formation, patterning, and mineralisation are impaired during the early phase of critical sized bone defect healing, and may relate to inter-fragmentary tissue strains within the bone defect area. Twenty four 12 week old Sprague Dawley rats were used for this study. They were divided into two groups defined by the femur bone defect size: (i) 1 mm resulting in normal healing (NH), and (ii) a large sized 5 mm defect resulting in critical healing (CH). Callus formation, patterning, and mineralisation kinetics in both groups were examined in the periosteal and osteotomy gap regions using a novel longitudinal study setup. Finite element analyses on µCT generated tomograms were used to determine inter-fragmentary tissue strain patterns and compared to callus formation and patterning over the course of time. Using a novel longitudinal study technique with µCT, in vivo tracking and computer simulation approaches, this study demonstrates that: (i) periosteal bone formation and patterning are significantly influenced by bone defect size as early as 2 weeks; (ii) osteotomy gap callus formation and patterning are influenced by bone defect size, and adapt towards a non-union in critical cases by deviating into a medullary formation route as early as 2 weeks after osteotomy; (iii) the new bone formation in the osteotomy gap enclosing the medullary cavity in the CH group is highly mineralised; (iv) inter-fragmentary strain patterns predicted during the very early soft callus tissue phase (less than 2 weeks) are concurrent with callus formation and patterning at later stages. In conclusion, bone defect size influences early onset of critical healing patterns.
European cells & materials 01/2012; 24:358-71. · 4.56 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bone healing commences with an inflammatory reaction which initiates the regenerative healing process leading in the end to reconstitution of bone. An unbalanced immune reaction during this early bone healing phase is hypothesized to disturb the healing cascade in a way that delays bone healing and jeopardizes the successful healing outcome. The immune cell composition and expression pattern of angiogenic factors were investigated in a sheep bone osteotomy model and compared to a mechanically-induced impaired/delayed bone healing group. In the impaired/delayed healing group, significantly higher T cell percentages were present in the bone hematoma and the bone marrow adjacent to the osteotomy gap when compared to the normal healing group. This was mirrored in the higher cytotoxic T cell percentage detected under delayed bone healing conditions indicating longer pro-inflammatory processes. The highly activated periosteum adjourning the osteotomy gap showed lower expression of hematopoietic stem cell markers and angiogenic factors such as heme oxygenase and vascular endothelial growth factor. This indicates a deferred revascularization of the injured area due to ongoing pro-inflammatory processes in the delayed healing group. Results from this study suggest that there are unfavorable immune cells and factors participating in the initial healing phase. In conclusion, identifying beneficial aspects may lead to promising therapeutical approaches that might benefit further by eliminating the unfavorable factors.
Cell and Tissue Research 07/2011; 347(3):567-73. · 3.68 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Small animal fracture models have gained increasing interest in fracture healing studies. To achieve standardized and defined study conditions, various variables must be carefully controlled when designing fracture healing experiments in mice or rats. The strain, age and sex of the animals may influence the process of fracture healing. Furthermore, the choice of the fracture fixation technique depends on the questions addressed, whereby intra- and extramedullary implants as well as open and closed surgical approaches may be considered. During the last few years, a variety of different, highly sophisticated implants for fracture fixation in small animals have been developed. Rigid fixation with locking plates or external fixators results in predominantly intramembranous healing in both mice and rats. Locking plates, external fixators, intramedullary screws, the locking nail and the pin-clip device allow different degrees of stability resulting in various amounts of endochondral and intramembranous healing. The use of common pins that do not provide rotational and axial stability during fracture stabilization should be discouraged in the future. Analyses should include at least biomechanical and histological evaluations, even if the focus of the study is directed towards the elucidation of molecular mechanisms of fracture healing using the largely available spectrum of antibodies and gene-targeted animals to study molecular mechanisms of fracture healing. This review discusses distinct requirements for the experimental setups as well as the advantages and pitfalls of the different fixation techniques in rats and mice.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The hypothesis of the study was that the incidence of pin loosening and pin infection would increase, whereas the general stability of the pin-bone interface would decrease with ongoing implantation time. The aim of this study was to analyze the biologic reactions of the bone tissue adjacent to the pin to determine the relationship among the osseous anchorage of pins, the incidence of infections, and the histologic appearance.
Three groups of sheep received a tibial osteotomy stabilized by external fixators. The pin-bone interface was analyzed biomechanically, radiologically, microbiologically, and histologically after 3, 6, and 9 weeks.
Contrary to common opinion, pin anchorage was not altered biomechanically throughout the 9 weeks of the study. This effect might be attributed to an increasing remodeling found in the callus and cortex around the pins and was likely assisted by a strict pin care routine and a low infection rate.
Journal of orthopaedic trauma 07/2011; 25(7):438-45. · 1.78 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The sheep is an important model organism for many types of medically relevant research, but molecular genetic experiments in the sheep have been limited by the lack of knowledge about ovine gene sequences.
Prior to our study, mRNA sequences for only 1,556 partial or complete ovine genes were publicly available. Therefore, we developed a composite de novo transcriptome assembly method for next-generation sequence data to combine known ovine mRNA and EST sequences, mRNA sequences from mouse and cow, and sequences assembled de novo from short read RNA-Seq data into a composite reference transcriptome, and identified transcripts from over 12 thousand previously undescribed ovine genes. Gene expression analysis based on these data revealed substantially different expression profiles in standard versus delayed bone healing in an ovine tibial osteotomy model. Hundreds of transcripts were differentially expressed between standard and delayed healing and between the time points of the standard and delayed healing groups. We used the sheep sequences to design quantitative RT-PCR assays with which we validated the differential expression of 26 genes that had been identified by RNA-seq analysis. A number of clusters of characteristic expression profiles could be identified, some of which showed striking differences between the standard and delayed healing groups. Gene Ontology (GO) analysis showed that the differentially expressed genes were enriched in terms including extracellular matrix, cartilage development, contractile fiber, and chemokine activity.
Our results provide a first atlas of gene expression profiles and differentially expressed genes in standard and delayed bone healing in a large-animal model and provide a number of clues as to the shifts in gene expression that underlie delayed bone healing. In the course of our study, we identified transcripts of 13,987 ovine genes, including 12,431 genes for which no sequence information was previously available. This information will provide a basis for future molecular research involving the sheep as a model organism.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The objectives of this study were to (1) establish a reproducible atrophic non-union model in rats by creation of a segmental femoral bone defect that allows, (2) in-depth characterization of impaired healing, and (3) contrast its healing patterns to the normal course. Hypothesis was that a 5-mm bone defect in male rats would deviate from uneventful healing patterns and result in an atrophic non-union.
A femoral osteotomy was performed in two groups of 12-week-old male rats (1 vs. 5 mm gap) stabilized with an external fixator. Bone healing in these models was evaluated by radiology, biomechanics, and histology at 6 or 8 weeks. The evaluation of the 5-mm group revealed in some cases a delayed rather than a non-union, and therefore, a group of female counterparts was included.
The creation of a 5-mm defect in female rats resulted in a reproducible atrophic non-union characterized by sealing of the medullary canal, lack of cartilage formation, and negligible mechanical properties of the callus. In both gap size models, the male subjects showed advanced healing compared to females.
This study showed that even under uneventful healing conditions in terms of age and bone defect size, there is a sex-specific advanced healing in male compared to female subjects. Contrary to our initial hypothesis, only the creation of a 5-mm segmental femoral defect in female rats led to a reproducible atrophic non-union. It has been shown that an atrophic non-union exhibits different healing patterns compared to uneventful healing. A total lack of endochondral bone formation, soft tissue prolapse into the defect, and bony closure of the medullary cavity have been shown to occur in the non-union model.
Archives of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery 01/2011; 131(1):121-9. · 1.36 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Fracture healing is a unique biologic process starting with an initial inflammatory response. As in other regenerative processes, bone and the immune system interact closely during fracture healing. This project was aimed at further elucidating how the host immune system participates in fracture healing. A standard closed femoral fracture was created in wild-type (WT) and recombination activating gene 1 knockout (RAG1(-/-)) mice lacking the adaptive immune system. Healing was investigated using micro-computed tomography (µCT), biomechanical testing, and histologic and mRNA expression analyses. Biomechanical testing demonstrated a significantly higher torsional moment on days 14 and 21 in the RAG1(-/-) mice compared to the WT group. µCT evaluation of RAG1(-/-) specimens showed earlier mineralization and remodeling. Histologically, endochondral ossification and remodeling were accelerated in the RAG1(-/-) compared with the WT mice. Histomorphometric analysis on day 7 showed a significantly higher fraction of bone and a significantly lower fraction of cartilage in the callus of the RAG1(-/-) mice than in the WT mice. Endochondral ossification was accelerated in the RAG1(-/-) mice. Lymphocytes were present during the physiologic repair process, with high numbers in the hematoma on day 3 and during formation of the hard callus on day 14 in the WT mice. Expression of inflammatory cytokines was reduced in the RAG1(-/-) mice. In contrast, expression of anti-inflammatory interleukin 10 (IL-10) was strongly upregulated in RAG1(-/-) mice, indicating protective effects. This study revealed an unexpected phenotype of enhanced fracture healing in RAG1(-/-) mice, suggesting detrimental functions of lymphocytes on fracture healing. The shift from proinflammatory to anti-inflammatory cytokines suggests that immunomodulatory intervention strategies that maximise the regenerative and minimize the destructive effects of inflammation may lead to enhanced fracture repair.
Journal of bone and mineral research: the official journal of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research 01/2011; 26(1):113-24. · 6.04 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study reports that treatment of osseous defects with different growth factors initiates distinct rates of repair. We developed a new method for monitoring the progression of repair, based upon measuring the in vivo mechanical properties of healing bone. Two different members of the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) family were chosen to initiate defect healing: BMP-2 to induce osteogenesis, and growth-and-differentiation factor (GDF)-5 to induce chondrogenesis. To evaluate bone healing, BMPs were implanted into stabilised 5 mm bone defects in rat femurs and compared to controls. During the first two weeks, in vivo biomechanical measurements showed similar values regardless of the treatment used. However, 2 weeks after surgery, the rhBMP-2 group had a substantial increase in stiffness, which was supported by the imaging modalities. Although the rhGDF-5 group showed comparable mechanical properties at 6 weeks as the rhBMP-2 group, the temporal development of regenerating tissues appeared different with rhGDF-5, resulting in a smaller callus and delayed tissue mineralisation. Moreover, histology showed the presence of cartilage in the rhGDF-5 group whereas the rhBMP-2 group had no cartilaginous tissue. Therefore, this study shows that rhBMP-2 and rhGDF-5 treated defects, under the same conditions, use distinct rates of bone healing as shown by the tissue mechanical properties. Furthermore, results showed that in vivo biomechanical method is capable of detecting differences in healing rate by means of change in callus stiffness due to tissue mineralisation.
European cells & materials 01/2011; 21:177-92. · 4.56 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study reports that treatment of osseous defects with different growth factors initiates distinct rates of repair. We developed a new method for monitoring the progression of repair, based upon measuring the in vivo mechanical properties of healing bone. Two different members of the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) family were chosen to initiate defect healing: BMP-2 to induce osteogenesis, and growth-and-differentiation factor (GDF)-5 to induce chondrogenesis. To evaluate bone healing, BMPs were implanted into stabilised 5 mm bone defects in rat femurs and compared to controls. During the first two weeks, in vivo biomechanical measurements showed similar values regardless of the treatment used. However, 2 weeks after surgery, the rhBMP-2 group had a substantial increase in stiffness, which was supported by the imaging modalities. Although the rhGDF-5 group showed comparable mechanical properties at 6 weeks as the rhBMP-2 group, the temporal development of regenerating tissues appeared different with rhGDF-5, resulting in a smaller callus and delayed tissue mineralisation. Moreover, histology showed the presence of cartilage in the rhGDF-5 group whereas the rhBMP-2 group had no cartilaginous tissue.Therefore, this study shows that rhBMP-2 and rhGDF-5 treated defects, under the same conditions, use distinct rates of bone healing as shown by the tissue mechanical properties. Furthermore, results showed that in vivo biomechanical method is capable of detecting differences in healing rate by means of change in callus stiffness due to tissue mineralisation.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Current approaches for segmental bone defect reconstruction are restricted to autografts and allografts which possess osteoconductive, osteoinductive and osteogenic properties, but face significant disadvantages. The objective of this study was to compare the regenerative potential of scaffolds with different material composition but similar mechanical properties to autologous bone graft from the iliac crest in an ovine segmental defect model. After 12 weeks, in vivo specimens were analysed by X-ray imaging, torsion testing, micro-computed tomography and histology to assess amount, strength and structure of the newly formed bone. The highest amounts of bone neoformation with highest torsional moment values were observed in the autograft group and the lowest in the medical grade polycaprolactone and tricalcium phosphate composite group. The study results suggest that scaffolds based on aliphatic polyesters and ceramics, which are considered biologically inactive materials, induce only limited new bone formation but could be an equivalent alternative to autologous bone when combined with a biologically active stimulus such as bone morphogenetic proteins.
International Orthopaedics 12/2010; 35(8):1229-36. · 2.32 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This review aims to address the current limitations in biomaterial scaffold-based treatment strategies for bone defect healing and suggests new, alternative approaches that merit further investigation. The question of whether the biomaterial scaffold properties should mimic the natural extracellular matrix of mature tissue or some phase of the dynamic range of tissues observed during the healing process is discussed. Additionally, the authors advocate for a biomimetic approach, which uses the endogenous secondary fracture healing processes to inform the design of scaffold constructs. In particular, the mechanical environment is emphasized as an important factor influencing the clinical success of these constructs. The authors stress the need for a scaffolds design that provides an optimal mechanical environment for cell fate, supplies necessary signals and nutrition to the cells and, thus, more closely mimics the natural healing cascade.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bone healing is considered as a recapitulation of a developmental program initiated at the time of injury. This study tested the hypothesis that in delayed bone healing the regular cascade of healing events, including remodeling of woven to lamellar bone, would be similar compared to standard healing, although the temporal onset would be delayed. A tibial osteotomy was performed in sheep and stabilized with a rotationally unstable fixator leading to delayed healing. The sheep were sacrificed at 2, 3, 6, 9 weeks and 6 months postoperatively. The temporal and spatial tissue distributions in the calluses and the bone microstructure were examined by histology. Although histological analysis demonstrated temporal and spatial callus tissue distribution differences, delayed healing exhibited the same characteristic stages as those seen during uneventful standard healing. The delayed healing process was characterized by a prolonged presence of hematoma, a different spatial distribution of new bone and delayed and prolonged endochondral bone formation. A change in the spatial distribution of callus formation was seen by week 6 leading to bone formation and resorption of the cortical bone fragments, dependent on the degree to which the cortical bone fragments were dislocated. At 6 months, only 5 out of 8 animals showed complete bony bridging with a continuous periosteum, although lamellar bone and newly formed woven bone were present in the other 3 animals. This study demonstrates that during delayed bone healing all stages of the healing cascade likely take place, even if bony consolidation does not occur. Furthermore, the healing outcome might be related to the periosteum's regenerative capacity leading to bony union or absence of bony bridging.
Histology and histopathology 09/2010; 25(9):1149-62. · 2.28 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Currently, well-established clinical therapeutic approaches for bone
reconstruction are restricted to the transplantation of autografts and
allografts, and the implantation of metal devices or ceramic-based implants to
assist bone regeneration. Bone grafts possess osteoconductive and
osteoinductive properties, however they are limited in access and availability
and associated with donor site morbidity, haemorrhage, risk of infection,
insufficient transplant integration, graft devitalisation, and subsequent
resorption resulting in decreased mechanical stability. As a result, recent
research focuses on the development of alternative therapeutic concepts.
The field of tissue engineering has emerged as an important approach to
bone regeneration. However, bench to bedside translations are still
infrequent as the process towards approval by regulatory bodies is protracted
and costly, requiring both comprehensive in vitro and in vivo studies. The
subsequent gap between research and clinical translation, hence
commercialization, is referred to as the ‘Valley of Death’ and describes a
large number of projects and/or ventures that are ceased due to a lack of
funding during the transition from product/technology development to
regulatory approval and subsequently commercialization. One of the greatest
difficulties in bridging the Valley of Death is to develop good manufacturing
processes (GMP) and scalable designs and to apply these in pre-clinical
studies. In this article, we describe part of the rationale and road map of how
our multidisciplinary research team has approached the first steps to
translate orthopaedic bone engineering from bench to bedside byestablishing a pre-clinical ovine critical-sized tibial segmental bone defect
model and discuss our preliminary data relating to this decisive step.
Tissue Engineering Part B Reviews 10/2009; · 4.64 Impact Factor