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J Orthop Res. 1993 Mar;11(2):305-12.

A standardized experimental fracture in the mouse tibia.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, University of Turku, Finland.


The increased use of transgenic mice as experimental animals provides new opportunities to study the biology of fracture repair. We have developed a technique for the production of a standard closed experimental fracture in the mouse tibia. A 0.2 mm stainless-steel rod was introduced into the medullary cavity and the pre-nailed tibial shaft was fractured by an impact device, which resulted in a reproducible transverse or slightly oblique fracture pattern. The intramedullary rod maintained axial alignment, and the fractures united without displacement. On the basis of measurements of callus geometry, four-point bending tests, biochemical analyses, and quantitative histology, the progress of callus formation and remodeling occurred in a predictable sequence of healing phases. The ultimate bending loads of the fractures increased with time, reaching 74% of the strength of intact control tibias in 4 weeks. The stiffness values of the fractures returned to normal levels and, as determined radiographically, the fractures united by external callus in 4 weeks. Radiographically, callus size, cross-sectional callus area, and callus mass peaked at 2 weeks and decreased thereafter, indicating the start of external remodeling. Histologically, the amount of mesenchymal tissue was maximal at days 5 and 7. The callus cartilage area peaked at day 9; at its maximum, it accounted for 46% of the total callus area. Early periosteal formation of membranous new bone, followed by endochondral ossification, resulted in a linear increase of callus bone during the healing process. The healing sequence of the mouse tibial fracture was similar to that seen in the rat tibia.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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