, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 173-181
Date: 07 Jan 2009

Pan-caspase inhibition suppresses polyethylene particle-induced osteolysis

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Particle-induced osteolysis is a major cause of aseptic loosening after total joint replacement. Earlier studies demonstrated apoptotic macrophages, giant cells, fibroblasts and T-lymphocytes in capsules and interface membranes of patients with aseptic hip implant loosening. The aim of the current study was to determine in a murine calvarial model of wear particle-induced osteolysis whether inhibition of apoptosis using the pan-caspase inhibitor BOC-D-FMK reduces aseptic loosening. Healthy 12-week-old male C57BL/6J mice were treated with UHMWPE particles and received a daily peritoneal injection of BOK-D-FMK, respectively only buffer at a dose of 3 mg/kg of body weight for 12 days until sacrifice. Bone resorption was measured by histomorphometry, micro CT (computed tomography) and TRAP-5b serum analysis. Apoptosis was measured using caspase-3 cleaved staining. The results demonstrated that UHMWPE particles induced stronger apoptotic reactions in macrophages and osteoblasts and increased bone resorption in non-specifically treated mice, whereas peritoneal application of BOC-D-FMK significantly counteracted these adverse particle-related effects. We think that in particle-induced osteolysis apoptosis is pathologically increased, and that failure to reduce the quantity of apoptotic bodies leads to an up-regulation of proinflammtory cytokines, which may be responsible for the induction of osteolysis. We showed for the first time in vivo that a reduction in apoptosis leads to a significant reduction in particle-induced osteolysis. Clinically, the apoptotic cascade could become an interesting novel therapeutic target to modulate particle-induced osteolysis.

This is an investigation performed at the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany.