Failure of growth hormone to alter the biomechanics of fracture-healing in a rabbit model

J. E. Carpenter, J. A. Hipp, T. N. Gerhart, C. G. Rudman, W. C. Hayes, S. B. Trippel

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51 Scopus citations


Standardized tibial osteotomies were created and stabilized with external fixation in twenty-seven skeletally mature rabbits. Fourteen animals were treated with a daily injection of human growth hormone (150 micrograms per kilogram of body weight), and thirteen received a daily injection of saline solution. Serial non-destructive biomechanical tests, radiography, and determinations of the levels of serum insulin-like growth-factor I were performed for all of the animals. Destructive strength-testing of the sites of osteotomy was performed at four, six, or eight weeks. Twenty-five of the twenty-seven osteotomies healed uneventfully. There were no significant differences in the serial biomechanical measurements at the sites of the healing osteotomies, in the radiographic measurements, or in the ultimate strength of the sites of the osteotomy between the two groups. The mean level of serum insulin-like growth-factor I increased 33 per cent relative to the preoperative baseline level in the group that received growth hormone and increased 10 per cent in the control group. This difference was not statistically significant. There was no significant correlation between the biomechanical properties at the sites of the osteotomies and the levels of serum insulin-like growth-factor I. Administration of growth hormone had no measurable effect on fracture-healing in this model of normal animals. It remains to be determined whether injection of growth hormone might affect healing when there is a state of deficiency of endogenous growth hormone or when there is a non-union of a fracture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)359-366
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Bone and Joint Surgery - Series A
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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