Stimulation of systemic bone formation induced by experimental blood loss

Tyler S. Lucas, Itai A. Bab, Jane B. Lian, Gary S. Stein, Laith Jazrawi, Robert J. Majeska, Malka Attar-Namdar, Thomas A. Einhorn

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Direct physical injury to bone marrow is associated with a systemic osteogenic response. However, blood loss, a condition that stimulates hemopoietic stem cells, also may activate osteoprogenitor cells in the bone marrow. To determine if bleeding induces a systemic osteogenic response, the mineral appositional rates and osteoblast numbers were determined in the bones of rats that were subjected to controlled cardiac bleeding and compared with those of rats subjected to ablation of their tibial bone marrow. In addition, a study of the kinetics of the osteogenic responses during the first 10 days after operative treatment was performed by quantitating the serum levels of biochemical indices known to be associated with systemic bone formation. The results showed that animals that sustained acute blood loss (1% or 3% body weight) or injury to their tibial bone marrow had statistically significant increases in mineral appositional rate, osteoblast number, and serum levels of osteogenic growth peptide. The kinetics studies showed that osteogenic growth peptide levels peaked on the tenth postoperative day and declined sharply thereafter. An enhancement of serum osteocalcin activity occurred only on the second postoperative day, was increased in all experimental groups when compared with untreated control animals, but immediately declined to baseline levels. Alkaline phosphatase activities increased in the experimental groups, peaking on Day 10 after tibial bone marrow ablation and on Day 12 in the group that underwent bleeding. These findings suggest that bleeding, alone, independent of any skeletal trauma, may evoke a systemic osteogenic response. This response is similar in its timing and magnitude to that which has been shown to follow direct physical injury to bone marrow. The observation that systemic bone formation follows bone marrow activation induced by two different stimuli suggests that these responses may be mediated by common regulatory mechanisms. The ability to trigger or control these responses may form the basis for future therapeutic strategies to enhance bone formation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-275
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Orthopaedics and Related Research
StatePublished - Jul 1997


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