The differentiation and maturation of macrophages and osteoclasts at the prosthetic interface in cases of implant loosening are poorly understood. Using histochemical and immunohistochemical staining methods, we compare macrophage differentiation in tissues from revised hip replacements in patients with specific clinical-radiological appearances. Periprosthetic tissues were harvested from 12 cemented acetabular and 12 cemented femoral components in 24 patients undergoing revision hip replacement. The prostheses were all radiographically and clinically loose. Six acetabular and six femoral components demonstrated radiographic ballooning osteolysis. Serial 6 microm frozen sections of the periprosthetic tissues were processed with hematoxylin and eosin for general tissue morphology, and analyzed for the presence of tartrate resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP, an osteoclast marker). Immunoperoxidase staining using monoclonal antibodies to CD68 (macrophages and osteoclasts) and CD51 (the alpha chain of the vitronectin receptor, an osteoclast marker) was also performed. Approximately 8-30% of the total cells in the tissues were positive for TRAP and the vitronectin receptor, and comprised a subset of the CD68 positive macrophages and macrophage polykaryons. However, there were no statistically significant differences between specific groups (femoral vs. acetabular, osteolysis vs. no osteolysis) for the numbers or percentages of macrophages or osteoclast-like cells. Once prosthetic loosening has occurred, few differences in the macrophage-osteoclast profile of tissues from different periprosthetic locations, with and without osteolysis, are noted. This suggests a final common biologic pathway for periprosthetic bone resorption, once implant loosening has transpired.
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