, Volume 66, Issue 4, pp 272-276

Expression of Indian Hedgehog During Fracture Healing in Adult Rat Femora

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Indian hedgehog (Ihh) has recently been shown to be expressed in prehypertrophic and hypertrophic chondrocytes during embryonic development, and it has been implicated in the regulation of terminal differentiation of chondrocytes. In this paper we examined the expression of Ihh during fracture healing in an adult rat model. A transverse diaphyseal fracture was made in the right femur, and the expression of Ihh in the fracture callus was examined at 1, 2, and 3 weeks after fracture. Northern blot analysis demonstrated the expression of Ihh mRNA in these tissues. Immunohistological analysis detected hedgehog protein in prehypertrophic chondrocytes in the fracture callus at 1 week after fracture. From 2 weeks and on, positive staining was observed in hypertrophic chondrocytes as well. At 3 weeks, some of the osteoblasts close to the endochondral ossification front were also stained positive for hedgehog protein. Our data indicate that Ihh is expressed in chondrocytes and osteoblasts during the process of fracture healing in adult rat femora, suggesting that Ihh, a regulator of endochondral ossification in embryonic development, may also play a role in the regulation of bone formation during fracture repair in adult animals.

Received: 29 March 1999 / Accepted: 30 September 1999