Previous studies have attempted to determine whether aseptic loosening and osteolysis are caused by a T cell-mediated type IV hypersensitivity reaction or a nonspecific foreign body reaction involving phagocytic macrophages. The purpose of this study was to examine the role of the B7-CD28 costimulatory pathway (which is indicative of an activated immune response) in loosening and osteolysis of total joint replacements (TJRs). We harvested periprosthetic tissues from 24 loose, cemented, all polyethylene, acetabular components in patients undergoing revision total hip replacement surgery for aseptic loosening. Prostheses were classified radiographically as to whether ballooning, scalloping osteolysis was present or not. Monoclonal antibodies were used to identify macrophages, antigen presenting cells (APCs) expressing B7-1 or B7-2, total T lymphocytes, and T cells expressing CD28 or CTLA-4. The large numbers of positive cells, including macrophages, T cells, and APCs in both groups are substantially higher than previously reported. Macrophages constituted the predominant cell type, the majority of which were APCs. B7-1 was expressed by 18.3% of all cells, and B7-2 was expressed by 61.0% of cells. Despite the fact that there were no statistically significant differences in expression of proteins in the B7-CD28 pathway between the osteolytic and nonosteolytic groups, the magnitude of positive staining suggests that the process of aseptic loosening (not osteolysis) may involve proteins of the B7-CD28 pathway, particularly B7-2. One possible antigenic stimulus is protein-coated particulate wear debris from prosthetic materials.
View details for PubMedID 11255198