Fracture-healing is regulated in part by mechanical factors. Study of the processes by which the mechanical environment of a fracture modulates healing can yield new strategies for the treatment of bone injuries. This article focuses on several key unanswered questions in the study of mechanotransduction and fracture repair. These questions concern identifying the mechanical stimuli that promote bone-healing, defining the mechanisms that are involved in this process, and examining the potential for cross-talk between investigations of mechanotransduction in bone-healing and in healing of other mesenchymally derived tissues. Several approaches to obtain accurate estimates of the mechanical stimuli present within a fracture callus are proposed, and our current understanding of the mechanotransduction processes involved in bone-healing is reviewed. Further study of mechanotransduction mechanisms is needed in order to identify those that are most critical and active during the various phases of fracture repair. A better understanding of the effect of mechanical factors on bone-healing will also benefit the study of healing, regeneration, and engineering of other skeletal tissues.
Disclosure: In support of their research for or preparation of this work, one or more of the authors received, in any one year, outside funding or grants in excess of $10,000 from the National Institutes of Health (grant #AR053353) and the Whitaker Foundation (graduate fellowship) and of less than $10,000 from Boston University (undergraduate industrial research fellowship). Neither they nor a member of their immediate families received payments or other benefits or a commitment or agreement to provide such benefits from a commercial entity. No commercial entity paid or directed, or agreed to pay or direct, any benefits to any research fund, foundation, division, center, clinical practice, or other charitable or nonprofit organization with which the authors, or a member of their immediate families, are affiliated or associated.
- Copyright © 2008 by The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Incorporated
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