2011 Volume 57 Issue 1 Pages 11-18
Low doses of methotrexate (MTX) are safe and effective for treating adult and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. However, because this powerful anti-inflammatory drug might negatively influence the healing of wounds and fractures, MTX administration is often stopped during surgical procedures. The present study assesses the effects of low- and high-dose MTX on early inflammatory processes and bone healing in an experimental model of fracture.
Thirty male Sprague-Dawley rats were assigned to low- and high-dose MTX and control groups. A femur was cut using a reciprocating saw and a 2-mm fracture gap was made using a fixator. One or four weeks thereafter, macrophages were immunostained and new bone formation was histomorphometrically measured.
Significantly less new bone was formed in the high-dose MTX, than in the control group (p< 0.01), whereas bone formation did not significantly differ between the low-dose MTX and control groups. These results suggested that a low dose of MTX does not affect the early process of endochondral bone formation during fracture healing, whereas a high dose might delay the progress of new periosteal bone formation. Although more macrophages were found in the groups treated with MTX, their impact on surrounding inflammatory processes remains unclear.