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J Orthop Res. 2004 May;22(3):526-34.

Recruitment of mesenchymal stem cells and expression of TGF-beta 1 and VEGF in the early stage of shock wave-promoted bone regeneration of segmental defect in rats.

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Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Chang Gung University, Linkou, Taiwan.


Extracorporeal shock wave (ESW) treatment has recently been established as a method to enhance bone repair. Here, we reported that ESW-promoted healing of segmental defect via stimulation of mesenchymal stem cell recruitment and differentiation into bone forming cells. Rats with a segmental femoral defect were exposed to a single ESW treatment (0.16 mJ/mm(2), 1 Hz, 500 impulses). Cell morphology and histological changes in the defect region were assessed 3, 7, 14, and 28 days post-treatment. Presence of mesenchymal stem cell was assayed by immuno-staining for RP59, a recently discovered marker, and also production of TGF-beta 1 and VEGF was monitored. ESW treatment increased total cell density and the proportion of RP59 positive cells in the defect region. High numbers of round- and cuboidal-shaped cells strongly expressing RP59 were initially found. Later, the predominant cell type was spindle-shaped fibroblastic cells, subsequently, aggregates of osteogenic and chondrogenic cells were observed. Histological observation suggested that bone marrow stem cells were progressively differentiated into osteoblasts and chondrocytes. RP59 staining was initially intense and decreased with the appearance of expression depended on the differentiation states of osteogenic and chondrogenic cells during the regeneration phase. Mature chondrocytes and osteoblasts exhibited only slight RP59 immuno-reactivity. Expression of TGF-beta 1 and VEGF-A mRNA in the defect tissues was also significantly increased (P<0.05) after ESW treatment as determined by RT-PCR. Intensive TGF-beta 1 immuno-reactivity was induced immediately, whereas a lag period was observed for VEGF-A. Chondrocytes and osteoblasts at the junction of ossified cartilage clearly exhibited VEGF-A expression. Our findings suggest that recruitment of meseoblasts at the junction of ossified cartilage clearly exhibited mesenchymal stem cells is a critical step in bone reparation that is enhanced by ESW treatment. TGF-beta 1 and VEGF-A are proposed to play a chemotactic and mitogenic role in recruitment and differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells.

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