Recombinant human parathyroid hormone (PTH 1-34) and low-intensity pulsed ultrasound have contrasting additive effects during fracture healing Academic Article uri icon


  • Fracture healing is thought to be naturally optimized; however, recent evidence indicates that it may be manipulated to occur at a faster rate. This has implications for the duration of morbidity associated with bone injuries. Two interventions found to accelerate fracture healing processes are recombinant human parathyroid hormone [1-34] (PTH) and low-intensity pulsed ultrasound (LIPUS). This study aimed to investigate the individual and combined effects of PTH and LIPUS on fracture healing. Bilateral midshaft femur fractures were created in Sprague-Dawley rats, and the animals treated 7 days/week with PTH (10 microg/kg) or a vehicle solution. Each animal also had one fracture treated for 20 min/day with active-LIPUS (spatial-averaged, temporal-averaged intensity [I(SATA)]=100 mW/cm(2)) and the contralateral fracture treated with inactive-LIPUS (placebo). Femurs were harvested 35 days following injury to permit micro-computed tomography, mechanical property and histological assessments of the fracture calluses. There were no interactions between PTH and LIPUS indicating that their effects were additive rather than synergistic. These additive effects were contrasting with LIPUS primarily increasing total callus volume (TV) without influencing bone mineral content (BMC), and PTH having the opposite effect of increasing BMC without influencing TV. As a consequence of the effect of LIPUS on TV but not BMC, it decreased volumetric bone mineral density (vBMD) resulting in a less mature callus. The decreased maturity and persistence of cartilage at the fracture site when harvested offset any beneficial mechanical effects of the increased callus size with LIPUS. In contrast, the effect of PTH on callus BMC but not TV resulted in increased callus vBMD and a more mature callus. This resulted in PTH increasing fracture site mechanical strength and stiffness. These data suggest that PTH may have utility in the treatment of acute bone fractures, whereas LIPUS at an I(SATA) of 100 mW/cm(2) does not appear to be indicated in the management of closed, diaphyseal fractures.


publication date

  • March 2009

published in