The mechanisms involved in pulsed electromagnetic field stimulation of nonunions are not known. Animal and cell culture models suggest endochondral ossification is stimulated by increasing cartilage mass and production of transforming growth factor-beta 1. For the current study, the effect of pulsed electromagnetic field stimulation on cells from human hypertrophic (n = 3) and atrophic (n = 4) nonunion tissues was examined. Cultures were placed between Helmholtz coils, and an electromagnetic field (4.5-ms bursts of 20 pulses repeating at 15 Hz) was applied to 1/2 of them 8 hours per day for 1, 2, or 4 days. There was a time-dependent increase in transforming growth factor-beta 1 inthe conditioned media of treated hypertrophie nonunion cells by Day 2 and of atrophic nonunion cells by Day 4. There was no effect on cell number, [3H]-thymidine incorporation, alkaline phosphatase activity, collagen synthesis, or prostaglandin E2 and osteocalcin production. This indicates thaunion cells respond to pulsed electromagnetic fields in culture and that transforming growth factor-beta 1 production is an early event. The delayed response of hypertrophic and atrophic nonunion cells (> 24 hours) suggests that a cascade of regulatory events is stimulated, culminating in growth factor synthesis and release.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine