2012 Volume 45 Issue 5 Pages 283-292
The aim of this study was to evaluate the influence of mechanical unloading on the repair of bone defects with implantation of biodegradable bone substitutes. Spherical granules of biodegradable hydroxyapatite composed of rod-shaped particles (RHA) or beta-tricalcium phosphate composed of rod-shaped particles (RTCP) were implanted into a bone defect created in the distal end of the right femur of 8-week-old Wistar rats. Two, 6, 10, and 22 weeks after implantation, part of the sciatic nerve in the thigh was resected and exposed to mechanical unloading for 2 weeks. Then, 4, 8, 12 and 24 weeks after implantation, repair of the bone defect was analyzed. As a control, the bone defect without implantation of ceramic granules was also analyzed. Both RHA and RTCP tended to be reduced, but the reduction was not obvious during the experimental period. At 12 and 24 weeks after implantation, the amount of newly formed bone in the animal implanted with RHA was significantly greater than that at 4 weeks after implantation, but that in the animal implanted with RTCP or without implantation was not significantly different. The number of osteoclasts in the region implanted with RHA was significantly larger than that of the region implanted with RTCP or without implantation at 12 and 24 weeks. The activities of alkaline phosphatase in osteoblasts and tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase in osteoclasts were remarkably increased in the bone defects with implantation compared with those in the bone defects without implantation. These results suggested that RHA stimulated osteogenesis and osteoclastogenesis even after 2 weeks of mechanical unloading, and that RHA could be expected to improve the repair of bone defects in patients under the condition of skeletal unloading.