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J Bone Miner Res. 2001 Apr;16(4):671-80.

Low-intensity pulsed ultrasound accelerates rat femoral fracture healing by acting on the various cellular reactions in the fracture callus.

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Teijin Institute for Biomedical Research, Teijin Limited, Tokyo, Japan.


Low-intensity pulsed ultrasound (LIPUS) has been shown to accelerate fracture healing in both animal models and clinical trials, but the mechanism of action remains unclear. In fracture healing, various consecutive cellular reactions occurred until repair. We investigated whether the advanced effects of LIPUS depended on the duration and timing of LIPUS treatment in a rat closed femoral fracture model to determine the target of LIPUS in the healing process. Sixty-nine Long-Evans male rats that have bilateral closed femoral fractures were used. The right femur was exposed to LIPUS (30 mW/cm2 spatial and temporal average [SATA], for 20 minutes/day), and the left femur was used as a control. Rats were divided into four groups according to timing and duration of treatment (Ph-1, days 1-8; Ph-2, days 9-16; Ph-3, days 17-24; throughout [T], days 1-24 after the fracture). Animals were killed on day 25. After radiographs and microfocus X-ray computed tomography (muCT) tomograms were taken, the hard callus area (HCA), bone mineral content (BMC) at the fracture site, and mechanical torsion properties were measured, and histological analysis was conducted. Interestingly, the maximum torque of the LIPUS-treated femur was significantly greater than that of the controls in all groups without any changes in HCA and BMC. The multiviewing of three-dimensional (3D) muCT reconstructions and histology supported our findings that the partial LIPUS treatment time was able to accelerate healing, but longer treatment was more effective. These results suggest that LIPUS acts on some cellular reactions involved in each phase of the healing process such as inflammatory reaction, angiogenesis, chondrogenesis, intramembranous ossification, endochondral ossification, and bone remodeling.

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