Calcified Tissue International

, Volume 81, Issue 2, pp 124–131 | Cite as

Upregulation of VEGF in Subchondral Bone of Necrotic Femoral Heads in Rabbits with Use of Extracorporeal Shock Waves

Article

Abstract

Extracorporeal shock wave treatment appears to be effective in patients with avascular necrosis of the femoral head. However, the pathway of biological events whereby this is accomplished has not been fully elucidated. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of extracorporeal shock waves on vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) expression in necrotic femoral heads of rabbits. VEGF expression was assessed by immunohistochemistry, quantitative real-time PCR, and Western blot analysis. The degree of angiogenesis was also assessed, as determined by the microvessel density (MVD), the assessment of which was based on CD31-expressing vessels. Bilateral avascular necrosis of femoral heads was induced with methylprednisolone and lipopolysaccharide in 30 New Zealand rabbits. The left limb (the study side) received shock wave therapy to the femoral head. The right limb (the control side) received no shock wave therapy. Biopsies of the femoral heads were performed at 1, 2, 4, 8, and 12 weeks. Western blot analysis and real-time PCR showed that shock wave therapy significantly increased VEGF protein and mRNA expression, respectively, in the subchondral bone of the treated necrotic femoral heads. Compared with the contralateral control without shock wave treatment, the VEGF mRNA expression levels increased to a peak at 2 weeks after the shock wave treatment and remained high for 8 weeks, then declined at 12 weeks, whereas the VEGF protein expression levels increased to a peak at 4 weeks after the shock wave treatment and remained high for 12 weeks. The immunostaining of VEGF was weak in the control group, and the immunoreactivity level in the shock-wave-treated group increased at 4 weeks and persisted for 12 weeks. The most intensive VEGF immunoreactivity was observed in the proliferative zone above the necrotic zone. At 4, 8, and 12 weeks after the shock wave treatment, MVD in subchondral bone from treated femoral heads was significantly higher than that in subchondral bone from untreated femoral heads. These data clearly show that extracorporeal shock waves can significantly upregulate the expression of VEGF. The upregulation of VEGF may play a role in inducing the ingrowth of neovascularization and in improving the blood supply to the femoral head.

Keywords

Extracorporeal shock wave treatment Osteonecrosis Subchondral bone Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Orthopedic SurgeryShanghai Sixth People’s Hospital, Shanghai Jiaotong UniversityShanghaiChina

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