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Long-term changes in the haversian systems following high-dose irradiation. An ultrastructural and quantitative histomorphological study
S Takahashi; M Sugimoto; Y Kotoura; K Sasai; M Oka; T Yamamuro
J Bone Joint Surg Am, 1994 May 01;76(5):722-738
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Abstract

The effects of high-dose irradiation on the morphology of haversian bone were studied, over a fifty-two-week period, in seventy-seven adult rabbits, after the administration of a single dose of radiation (therapeutic x-ray; twenty-five, fifty, or 100 gray) to one knee joint. The specimens of bone were examined with microangiography, light and transmission electron microscopy, and histomorphometry. Analysis was performed on the haversian bone in the subchondral bone plate of weight-bearing portions of the femoral condyles. Microangiography demonstrated dilatation of the microvasculature four weeks after irradiation. Beginning at twelve weeks, there was a marked decrease in vascularity; no obvious recovery of the subchondral bone had occurred by fifty-two weeks. At four weeks, morphological analysis revealed two changes in the haversian canals: simple occlusion of the haversian vessels with loss of cells in the canal, and dilatation of the capillaries with abnormal resorption of the perivascular bone matrix by osteoclasts. The abnormal bone resorption was not coupled with subsequent new-bone formation, resulting in increased porosity. Beginning at four weeks, a progressive decrease in the number of haversian vessels and in cellularity became prominent. The decrease in cellularity involved all types of cells, including endothelial cells, pericytes, perivascular mesenchymal cells, osteoblasts, osteocytes, and osteoclasts. The loss of perivascular cells was often but not always associated with occlusion of the haversian vessels. Histomorphometry revealed both time-dependent and dose-dependent decreases in capillary density (the number of intraosseous capillaries per unit area) and in the number of osteocytes in the subchondral bone plate. The porosity of the same areas showed a significant increase by four weeks (p < 0.001 after administration of twenty-five gray and p < 0.01 after administration of both fifty and 100 gray), but between twelve and fifty-two weeks, there was only a slight additional increase. Statistical analysis revealed significant correlations between capillary density and osteocyte survival (p < 0.001) and between capillary density and porosity (p < 0.001). The portion of the subchondral bone plate that was located farthest from the non-irradiated normal bone showed progressive damage and no sign of recovery at fifty-two weeks.

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    These activities have been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint sponsorship of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
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