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Proc Natl Sci Counc Repub China B. 1995 Jul;19(3):185-95.

The effect of cobalt-60 irradiation on bone marrow cellularity and alveolar osteoclasts.

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Department of Dentistry, MetroHealth Medical Center, Cleveland, Ohio 44109, USA.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the mechanisms of bone resorption in the rat dentoalveolar complex occurring as a result of orthodontic appliance therapy. Utilizing whole body radioactive cobalt 60 (Co60) irradiation in combination with orthodontic tooth movement, the activation, recruitment, and life span of osteoclasts was studied. Thirty-four adult Fischer 344 rats were irradiated with 10 and 20 Gray of Co60. Twelve days after irradiation, each rat was fitted with an orthodontic appliance; the rats were sacrificed 7, 14, or 21 days after appliance placement. To serve as controls, another group of 12 rats was subjected to orthodontic treatment only. Histologic sections were prepared from decalcified maxillary alveolar process, and osteoclasts were counted. In the control group, osteoclasts were presence in the periodontal membrane for four weeks after appliance placement, and the largest number of osteoclasts was observed in the second week. The smaller total irradiation dose (10 Gray, administered in 5 daily fractions) induced a transient reduction in the bone marrow cell count of more than 90%, followed by a complete rebound. The peak osteoclst number also was increased 110%. In contrast, the higher total dose (20 Gray, administered in 10 daily fractions) resulted in a reduction of 60% in bone marrow cellularity and a decrease in the peak osteoclast number by 40%. Fluctuations in bone marrow cellularity generally corresponded to similar variations in the osteoclast number, but there was an apparent lack of correspondence between bone marrow cell and white blood cell values. The total period of osteoclastic presence in the periodontal membrane following orthodontic activation, normally four weeks in duration, was reduced by one week in the irradiated animals. These findings lead us to speculate that the mechanisms of osteoclast activation and recruitment following orthodontic appliance therapy may involve three consecutive waves of osteoclast maturation. The total duration of osteoclastic bone resorption lasts 4 weeks, but the osteoclast lie span is calculated to be 9 to 10 days (9 days x 3 waves = 27 days). If the results of this study are proved to be reproducible, a scientific basis may have been provided to support the common practice in orthodontics wherein the duration between orthodontic appointments is 4-5 weeks.

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