Increased exercise after stable closed fracture fixation does not affect fracture healing in mice

J H Holstein, S C Becker, M Fiedler, C Scheuer, P Garcia, T Histing, M Klein, M D Menger, T Pohlemann
Journal of Biomechanics 2012 April 30, 45 (7): 1299-304

PURPOSE: The aim of the present study was to evaluate the systemic biological effect of increased exercise on bone repair after stable fracture fixation.

METHODS: Two groups of SKH-1h mice were studied. Animals of the first group (n=36) were housed in cages supplied with a running wheel, while mice of the second group (n=37) were housed in standard cages for control. Using a closed femur fracture model, bone repair was analysed by histomorphometry and biomechanical testing at 2 and 5 weeks. At 2 weeks, we additionally evaluated the expression of the proliferation marker PCNA (proliferating cell nuclear antigen) and the angiogenic and osteogenic growth factor VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor). To standardise the mechanical conditions in the fracture gap, we used an intramedullary compression screw for stable fracture fixation.

RESULTS: Each mouse of the exercise group run a mean total distance of 23.5 km after 2 weeks and 104.3 km after 5 weeks. Histomorphometric analysis of the size and tissue composition of the callus could not reveal significant differences between mice undergoing exercise and controls. Accordingly, biomechanical testing showed a comparable torsional stiffness, peak rotation angle, and load at failure of the healing bones in the two groups. The expression of PCNA and VEGF did also not differ between mice of the exercise group and controls.

CONCLUSION: We conclude that increased exercise does not affect bone repair after stable fracture fixation.

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