How much do we know about the role of osteocytes in different phases of fracture healing? A systematic review
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AbstractBackground
Although emerging studies have provided evidence that osteocytes are actively involved in fracture healing, there is a general lack of a detailed understanding of the mechanistic pathway, cellular events and expression of markers at different phases of healing.

Methods
This systematic review describes the role of osteocytes in fracture healing from early to late phase. Literature search was performed in PubMed and Embase. Original animal and clinical studies with available English full-text were included. Information was retrieved from the selected studies.

Results
A total of 23 articles were selected in this systematic review. Most of the studies investigated changes of various genes and proteins expression patterns related to osteocytes. Several studies have described a constant expression of osteocyte-specific marker genes throughout the fracture healing cascade followed by decline phase with the progress of healing, denoting the important physiological role of the osteocyte and the osteocyte lacuno-canalicular network in fracture healing. The reports of various markers suggested that osteocytes could trigger coordinated bone healing responses from cell death and expression of proinflammatory markers cyclooxygenase-2 and interleukin 6 at early phase of fracture healing. This is followed by the expression of growth factors bone morphogenetic protein-2 and cysteine-rich angiogenic inducer 61 that matched with the neo-angiogenesis, chondrogenesis and callus formation during the intermediate phase. Tightly controlled regulation of osteocyte-specific markers E11/Podoplanin (E11), dentin matrix protein 1 and sclerostin modulate and promote osteogenesis, mineralisation and remodelling across different phases of fracture healing. Stabilised fixation was associated with the finding of higher number of osteocytes with little detectable bone morphogenetic proteins expressions in osteocytes. Sclerostin-antibody treatment was found to result in improvement in bone mass, bone strength and mineralisation.

Conclusion
To further illustrate the function of osteocytes, additional longitudinal studies with appropriate clinically relevant model to study osteoporotic fractures are crucial. Future investigations on the morphological changes of osteocyte lacuno-canalicular network during healing, osteocyte-mediated signalling molecules in the transforming growth factor-beta-Smad3 pathway, perilacunar remodelling, type of fixation and putative biomarkers to monitor fracture healing are highly desirable to bridge the current gaps of knowledge.

The translational potential of this article: This systematic review provides an up-to-date chronological overview and highlights the osteocyte-regulated events at gene, protein, cellular and tissue levels throughout the fracture healing cascade, with the hope of informing and developing potential new therapeutic strategies that could improve the timing and quality of fracture healing in the future.
Acceptance Date30/11/2019
All Author(s) ListChoy MHV, Wong RMY, Chow SKH, Li MC, Chim YN, Li TK, Ho WT, Cheng JCY, Cheung WH
Journal nameJournal of Orthopaedic Translation
Year2020
Month3
Volume Number21
PublisherElsevier
Pages111 - 121
ISSN2214-031X
LanguagesEnglish-United Kingdom

Last updated on 2020-23-11 at 23:55