eCM (Eur Cell Mater / e Cells & Materials) Not-for-Profit Open Access
Created by Scientists, for Scientists
 ISSN:1473-2262         NLM:100973416 (link)         DOI:10.22203/eCM

2019   Volume No 37 – pages 444-466

Title: Establishment of a clinically relevant large animal model to assess the healing of metaphyseal bone

Authors: FI Alagboso, M Budak, U Sommer, S Ray, A Kaiser, M Kampschulte, A Henss, L Dürselen,C Biehl, KS Lips, C Heiss, U Thormann, V Alt

Address: Department of Trauma Surgery, University Medical Centre, Regensburg, Germany.

E-mail: Volker.Alt at

Abstract: Despite the high incidence of metaphyseal bone fractures in patients, the mechanisms underlying the healing processes are poorly understood due to the lack of suitable experimental animal models. Hence, the present study was conducted to establish and characterise a clinically relevant large-animal model for metaphyseal bone healing.
Six female adult Merino sheep underwent full wedge-shaped osteotomy at the distal left femur metaphysis. The osteotomy was stabilised internally with a customised anatomical locking titanium plate that allowed immediate post-operative full-weight bearing. Bone healing was evaluated at 12 weeks post-fracture relative to the untouched right femur.
Histological and quantitative micro-computed tomography results revealed an increased mineralised bone mass with a rich bone microarchitecture. New trabeculae healed by direct intramembranous ossification, without callus and cartilaginous tissue formation. Stiffness at the cortical and trabecular regions was comparable in both groups. Functional morphological analysis of the osteocyte lacunae revealed regularly arranged spherically shaped lacunae along with the canalicular network. Bone surface biochemical analysis using time-of-flight secondary-ion mass spectrometry showed high and homogeneously distributed levels of calcium and collagenous components. Ultrastructure imaging of the new trabeculae revealed a characteristic parallel arrangement of the collagen fibrils, evenly mineralised by the dense mineral substance. The specialised bone cells were also characterised by their unique structural features. Bone remodelling in the fractured femur was evident in the higher expression levels of prominent bone formation and resorption genes. In conclusion, the novel metaphyseal fracture model is beneficial for studying healing and treatment options for the enhancement of metaphyseal bone defects.

Key Words: Bone healing, metaphysis, adult sheep, locking plate, biomechanics, microstructure, ultrastructure.

Publication date: June 20th 2019

Article download: Pages 444-466 (PDF file)


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