Enhancement of Apoptosis by Titanium Alloy Internal Fixations during Microwave Treatments for Fractures: An Animal Study

Gang Wang, Yiming Xu, Lina Zhang, Dongmei Ye, Xianxuan Feng, Tengfei Fu, Yuehong Bai
PloS One 2015, 10 (7): e0132046

OBJECTIVE: Microwaves are used in one method of physical therapy and can increase muscle tissue temperature which is useful for improving muscle, tendon and bone injuries. In the study, we sought to determine whether titanium alloy internal fixations influence apoptosis in tissues subjected to microwave treatments at 2,450 MHz and 40 W during the healing of fractures because this issue is not yet fully understood.

METHODS: In this study, titanium alloy internal fixations were used to treat 3.0-mm transverse osteotomies in the middle of New Zealand rabbits' femurs. After the operation, 30-day microwave treatments were applied to the 3.0 mm transverse osteotomies 3 days after the operation. The changes in the temperatures of the muscle tissues in front of the implants or the 3.0 mm transverse osteotomies were measured during the microwave treatments. To characterize the effects of titanium alloy internal fixations on apoptosis in the muscles after microwave treatment, we performed TUNEL assays, fluorescent real-time (quantitative) PCR, western blotting analyses, reactive oxygen species (ROS) detection and transmission electron microscopy examinations.

RESULTS: The temperatures were markedly increased in the animals with the titanium alloy implants. Apoptosis in the muscle cells of the implanted group was significantly more extensive than that in the non-implanted control group at different time points. Transmission electron microscopy examinations of the skeletal muscles of the implanted groups revealed muscular mitochondrial swelling, vacuolization. ROS, Bax and Hsp70 were up-regulated, and Bcl-2 was down-regulated in the implanted group.

CONCLUSION: Our results suggest that titanium alloy internal fixations caused greater muscular tissue cell apoptosis following 2,450 MHz, 40 W microwave treatments in this rabbit femur fracture models.

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