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Foot Ankle Clin. 2005 Dec;10(4):579-93, vii.

The role of electrical stimulation in bone repair.

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Orthopedics Research Laboratory, Brown Medical School, Rhode Island Hospital, One Hoppin Street, Providence, RI 02903, USA.


Electric and electromagnetic fields regulate extra-cellular matrix synthesis and stimulate repair of fractures and nonunions. Studies of electric and electromagnetic fields suggest they (1) regulate proteoglycan and collagen synthesis and increase bone formation in models of endochondral ossification, (2) accelerate bone formation and repair, (3) increase union rates in fractures previously refractory to healing, and (4) produce results equivalent to bone grafts. Electric and electromagnetic fields regulate the expression of genes in connective tissue cells for extra-cellular matrix proteins, which results in an increase in cartilage and bone. They also increase gene expression for and synthesis of growth factors, which may be an intermediary mechanism of activity and may amplify field effects through autocrine and paracrine signaling.

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