Tag Archives: impaired bone healing

Exploring Genetic Factors in Impaired Bone Healing

Among the nearly 8 million fractures that occur annually in the United States, approximately 10 percent of these, or 800,000 show impaired healing or non-union. According to J. Spence Reid, M.D., Penn State Hershey Bone and Joint Institute, “Although we know that certain factors like smoking and diabetes, and some medications are associated with impaired bone healing; in some cases it’s unexplained. Impaired fracture healing, regardless of the cause, is expensive to treat and significantly delays the patient’s return to normal activities. Because Penn State Hershey is a tertiary referral center, we frequently see this problem in our clinic. In many cases, patients with delayed healing will require a bone graft and revision of fixation hardware at the fracture site.”

Reid and his colleagues have begun to study the possibility that genetic factors predispose certain patients to poor bone healing. In an exploratory study conducted at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, bucomocosal tissue samples were obtained from patients with normal healing fractures of the tibia, femur, humerus, or forearm and a matching group of patients with similar fractures that showed impaired healing. Tissue sample DNA was genotyped for 144 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) the researchers considered potentially involved in bone healing. The presence of each SNP was then tested for an association with fracture nonunion. Preliminary data from this study were presented at the 2012 annual meeting of the Orthopedic Research Society1 and is currently being reviewed for publication. “The initial data from our small exploratory study have been very encouraging. In particular, significant associations between impaired bone healing and SNPs related to bone morphogenetic protein, type 7 (BMP7) and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) have been found,” notes Reid. Continue reading

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