Original Article

HSS Journal

, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 79-84

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Deleterious Effects of Intermittent Recombinant Parathyroid Hormone on Cartilage Formation in a Rabbit Microfracture Model: a Preliminary Study

  • Brian T. FeeleyAffiliated withHospital for Special SurgeryDepartment of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of California, San Francisco Email author 
  • , Steven B. DotyAffiliated withHospital for Special Surgery
  • , Zlatko DevcicAffiliated withHospital for Special Surgery
  • , Russell F. WarrenAffiliated withHospital for Special Surgery
  • , Joseph M. LaneAffiliated withHospital for Special Surgery


Intermittent parathyroid hormone administration can enhance fracture healing in an animal model. Despite the success of exogenous parathyroid hormone on fracture healing and spine fusion, few studies have examined the role of parathyroid hormone on cartilage formation. We determined the effects of intermittent parathyroid hormone on cartilage formation in a rabbit microfracture model of cartilage regeneration. Twelve rabbits were divided into three equal groups: (1) microfracture alone, (2) microfracture + parathyroid hormone daily for 7 days, and (3) microfracture + parathyroid hormone for 28 days. Nonoperated contralateral knees were used as controls. The animals were sacrificed at 3 months and gross and histologic analysis was performed. The microfracture alone group demonstrated the most healing on gross and histologic analysis. Treatment with either 1 or 4 weeks of parathyroid hormone inhibited cartilage formation. Although discouraging from a cartilage repair point of view, this study suggests that the role parathyroid hormone administration has in clinical fracture healing must be examined carefully. Although parathyroid hormone is beneficial to promote healing in spine fusion and midshaft fractures, its deleterious effects on cartilage formation suggests that it may have adverse effects on the outcomes of periarticular fractures such as tibial plateau injuries that require cartilage healing for a successful clinical outcome.


parathyroid hormone cartilage microfracture