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The inflammatory phase of fracture healing is influenced by oestrogen status in mice

By Melanie Haffner-Luntzer, Verena Fischer, Katja Prystaz, Astrid Liedert and Anita Ignatius


Abstract Background Fracture healing is known to be delayed in postmenopausal, osteoporotic females under oestrogen-deficient conditions. Confirming this, experimental studies demonstrated impaired callus formation in ovariectomised animals. Oestrogen-deficiency is known to affect the immune system and the inflammatory response during wound healing. Because a balanced immune response is required for proper bone healing, we were interested to ascertain whether the early immune response after facture is affected by oestrogen depletion. Methods To address the above question, female mice received either a bilateral ovariectomy (OVX) or were sham-operated, and femur osteotomy was performed 8 weeks after OVX/sham operation. The effects of OVX on the presence of immune cells and pro-inflammatory cytokines were evaluated by flow cytometry and immunohistochemistry of the fracture calli on days 1 and 3 after fracture. Results One day after fracture, immune cell numbers and populations in the fracture haematoma did not differ between OVX- and sham-mice. However, on day 3 after fracture, OVX-mice displayed significantly greater numbers of neutrophils. Local expression of the oestrogen-responsive and pro-inflammatory cytokine midkine (Mdk) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) expression in the fracture callus were increased in OVX-mice on day 3 after fracture compared with sham-mice, indicating that both factors might be involved in the increased presence of neutrophils. Confirming this, Mdk-antibody treatment decreased the number of neutrophils in the fracture callus and reduced local IL-6 expression in OVX-mice. Conclusions These data indicate that oestrogen-deficiency influences the early inflammatory phase after fracture. This may contribute to delayed fracture healing after oestrogen depletion

Topics: Fracture healing, Oestrogen, Inflammation, Midkine, Neutrophils, Medicine, R
Publisher: BMC
Year: 2017
DOI identifier: 10.1186/s40001-017-0264-y
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