Age at onset is one of the most important predictors of outcome following ischemic osteonecrosis (ON). Currently, there is no well-established animal model to study the effects of age on the repair process following ischemic ON. The purpose of this study was to further advance a murine model of ischemic ON using four age groups of mice to determine the effects of aging on revascularization and bone repair following ischemic ON. Ischemia was surgically induced in the distal femoral epiphysis of four age groups of skeletally immature and mature mice; juvenile (5 weeks), adolescent (12 weeks), adult (22 weeks), and middle age (52 weeks). Mice were euthanized at 2 days or 4 weeks post-ischemia surgery to evaluate the extent of ON, revascularization, and bone repair. Terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick-end labeling staining showed extensive cell death in the epiphysis of all four age groups at 2 days post-ischemia surgery. At 4 weeks, the juvenile mice followed by the adolescent mice had significantly greater revascularization and repair of the necrotic marrow space, increased osteoblast and osteoclast numbers, and increased bone formation rates compared to the adult and middle-age mice. Faster revascularization and bone healing were observed in the skeletally immature mice compared to the skeletally mature mice following ischemic ON. The findings resemble the clinical observation of aging on bone repair following ischemic ON. The mouse model may serve as a useful tool to investigate the mechanisms underlying the age-related impairment of bone repair in adolescent and adult ON and to develop novel therapeutic strategies.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine