Research Papers

Controlled Cyclic Compression of an Open Tibial Fracture Using an External Fixator Affects Fracture Healing in Mice

[+] Author and Article Information
Jennifer A. Currey

Bioengineering Program,
Union College,
807 Union Street,
Schenectady, NY 12308
e-mail: curreyj@union.edu

Megan Mancuso, Sylvie Kalikoff, Sean Day

Bioengineering Program,
Union College,
807 Union Street,
Schenectady, NY 12308

Erin Miller

Biomedical Engineering Department,
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute,
110 8th Street,
Troy, NY 12180

1Corresponding author.

Manuscript received August 13, 2014; final manuscript received January 22, 2015; published online March 25, 2015. Assoc. Editor: Pasquale Vena.

J Biomech Eng 137(5), 051011 (May 01, 2015) (6 pages) Paper No: BIO-14-1389; doi: 10.1115/1.4029983 History: Received August 13, 2014; Revised January 22, 2015; Online March 25, 2015

Fractures resulting in impaired healing can be treated with mechanical stimulation via external fixators. To examine the effect of mechanical stimulation on fracture healing, we developed an external fixator for use in a mouse model. A 0.5 mm tibial osteotomy was stabilized with the external fixator in C57BL/6 mice. Osteotomies in the treatment group (nt = 41) were subjected to daily sessions of 150 μm of controlled displacement with the aim to create a more mineralized callus at 21 days compared with the control group (nc = 39). Qualitative assessment of the histology found no notable difference in healing patterns between groups at 7, 12, 17, and 21 days. At 21 days, micro-computed tomography (CT) analysis showed that the control group had a significantly higher bone volume (BV) fraction and trabecular number compared with treatment; however there was no significant difference in the total volume (TV) of the callus or trabecular thickness between groups. In summary, the external fixator was used with a motion application system to apply controlled displacement to a healing fracture; however, this treatment did not result in a more mineralized callus at 21 days.

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Fig. 1

(A) External fixator surgically placed on the mouse tibia. The proximal (a) and distal (b) components of the fixator were secured to the bone via four rentention pins (c). The fixator was stabilized with the bar (d) secured to the proximal and distal components. (B) Radiograph at day 21 of a control tibia.

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Fig. 2

(A) A mouse connected to the motion application system. (B) The system was comprised of a linear actuator (a) that displaced the distal component (b) of the fixator while the proximal component (c) was fixed.

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Fig. 3

The ROI analyzed for the histomorphometry were the OG (a) and the periosteal callus (b)

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Fig. 4

Histology of the midsagittal section through the OG after 7 days stained with Toluidine Blue for the control (a) and treatment (b) groups; VKM staining at day 12 (control (c) and treatment (d)), day 17 (control (e) and treatment (f)), and day 21 (control (g) and treatment (h)). * denotes cartilage. Scale bar = 1 mm.

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Fig. 5

Relative amounts of bone in the callus (a) and the OG (b) for the control and treatment groups at 7, 12, 17, and 21 days. The relative amount of bone within the OG at day 12 was significantly higher in the control group compared to the treatment group (*p ≤ 0.05).

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Fig. 6

Representative 3D reconstructions of control (a) and treatment (b) tibiae at day 21. Saggital cross sections illustrating the distribution of bone across the fracture gap for the control (c) and treatment (d) tibiae. TV (e) was not significantly different between groups while the BV/TV (f) was significantly higher in the control group compared to the treatment group (*p < 0.05).



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