We hypothesise that following a bone fracture there is systemic recruitment of bone forming cells to a fracture site. A rabbit ulnar osteotomy model was adapted to trace the movement of osteogenic cells. Bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells from 41 NZW rabbits were isolated, culture-expanded and fluorescently labelled. The labelled cells were either re-implanted into the fracture gap (Group A); into a vein (Group B); or into a remote tibial bone marrow cavity 48 h after the osteotomy (Group C) or 4 weeks before the osteotomy was established (Group D), and a control group (Group E) had no labelled cells given. To quantify passive leakage of cells to an injury site, inert beads were also co-delivered in Group B. Samples of the fracture callus tissue and various organs were harvested at discrete sacrifice time-points to trace and quantify the labelled cells. At 3 weeks following osteotomy, the number of labelled cells identified in the callus of Group C, was significantly greater than following IV delivery, Group B, and there was no difference in the number of labelled cells in the callus tissues, between Groups C and A, indicating the labelled bone marrow cells were capable of migrating to the fracture sites from the remote bone marrow cavity. Significantly fewer inert beads than labelled cells were identified in Group B callus, suggesting some of the bone-forming cells were actively recruited and selectively chosen to the fracture site, rather than passively leaked into the circulation and to bone injury site. This investigation supports the hypothesis that some osteoblasts involved in fracture healing were systemically mobilised and recruited to the fracture from remote bone marrow sites. © 2005 Orthopaedic Research Society. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine