Vascular disruption secondary to fracture leads to a hypoxic zone of injury where the oxygen tension at the center of the wound is quite low. In this dynamic microenvironment, a number of growth factors are elaborated to stimulate the synthetic processes of fracture repair. Previously the authors have shown the hypoxia-induced increase of vascular endothelial growth factor expression in osteoblasts. The purpose of these experiments was to examine osteoblast expression of insulinlike growth factors (IGF) I and II--cytokines believed to play a role in increased collagen synthesis, chemotaxis, and proliferation of osteoblasts in response to hypoxia. Primary cell cultures of osteoblasts isolated from neonatal rat calvaria were subjected to hypoxia (PO2 = 35 mmHg) for 0, 3, 6, 24, and 48 hours. Northern blot analysis of ribonucleic acid (RNA) from resulting cultures demonstrated a more than 60% increase in IGF-II messenger RNA (mRNA) expression after 3 hours of hypoxia. IGF-II mRNA expression continued to increase through later time points to 200% and 260% of baseline at 24 and 48 hours respectively. In contrast, IGF-I demonstrated no significant change in mRNA expression compared with baseline control (normoxia) cultures. In these experiments the authors have demonstrated a hypoxia-induced increase in IGF-II but not IGF-I in primary osteoblasts. The differential expression of these two growth factors may underscore important differences in the behavior of osteoblasts in the hypoxic fracture microenvironment. Taken together, these data add additional support to the theory that hypoxia induces gene-specific changes in expression of molecules important to extracellular matrix formation for successful bone healing.
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View details for PubMedID 10805305