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Arch Orthop Trauma Surg. 2014 Oct;134(10):1405-16. doi: 10.1007/s00402-014-2070-0. Epub 2014 Aug 2.

Callus formation is related to the expression ratios of estrogen receptors-alpha and -beta in ovariectomy-induced osteoporotic fracture healing.

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Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong SAR, China.



This study characterizes ovariectomized (OVX)-induced osteoporotic fracture healing with focus on estrogen receptors (ERs). Callus formation plays a critical role in fracture healing, and ERs are well-known mechanosensors in osteogenic pathways. It was hypothesized that callus formation was related to and partially determined by the difference in expression patterns of ERs in both normal and OVX-induced osteoporotic fractures.


Closed femoral fracture in SHAM and ovariectomized rats were used in this study. Weekly callus width (CW) and area (CA), endpoint mechanical properties, gene expressions of Col-1, BMP-2, ER-α, ER-β and ER-α:ER-β ratios (ER-ratios), and correlations were assessed at 2, 4 and 8 weeks post-fracture.


CW and CA results confirmed that OVX-induced osteoporotic fracture was delayed at 2-4 weeks with impaired endpoint mechanical properties. Gene expressions of ER-α and ER-β were higher in the SHAM group at week 2 (p < 0.05) and later lowered at week 8; whereas the OVX group showed an opposing trend. Moderate correlation existed between ER-α and BMP-2 (0.545, p = 0.003), and ER-ratio and BMP-2 (0.601, p = 0.001), and BMP-2 to CW and CA (r = 0.709, p = 0.000 and r = 0.588, p = 0.001, respectively). ER-α and ER-β proteins expressions were confirmed by immunohistochemistry at the fracture callus in reparative progenitor cells, osteoblasts- and osteoclasts-like cells.


We conclude that the delayed healing rate and impaired callus quality in OVX-induced osteoporotic fracture is related to the delayed expression of ERs. A high ER-α:ER-β ratio favors callus formation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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