Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Protein That Stimulates Blood Vessel Growth Also Helps Repair Broken Bones

Date:
March 14, 2000
Source:
University Of California, San Francisco
Summary:
Bones that refuse to heal may one day be set straight by a drug that stimulates the growth of new blood vessels, according to new research from the University of California, San Francisco. So far, however, the growth factor drug has been tested only in mice, and it could be years before it is used in hospitals.

Bones that refuse to heal may one day be set straight by a drug that stimulatesthe growth of new blood vessels, according to new research from the University of California, San Francisco. So far, however, the growth factor drug has been tested only in mice, and it could be years before it is used in hospitals.

Related Articles


These results were presented at this week's annual meeting of the OrthopaedicResearch Society, in Orlando, Florida.

As cancer and cardiology researchers already know, VEGF, or vascularendothelial growth factor, promotes blood vessel growth. Oncologists at a fewbiotech companies are running clinical trials of anti-VEGF drugs to reduce theflow of blood to tumors. Cardiologists are studying whether VEGF can sproutnew blood vessels to bypass blocked arteries in patients with inoperable heartdisease.

Blood vessel growth, known as angiogenesis, is also thought to help deliver thechemicals needed for bone cells to rebuild after a fracture, says Jill Helms,PhD, DDS, assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at UCSF. "Vascularinvasion is one of the critical steps of bone repair," said Helms, whocollaborated with Zena Werb, PhD, a professor of anatomy at UCSF.

While most broken bones will repair to their original strength within a matterof weeks, some breaks stubbornly refuse to heal for months, years, or longer,she said. Scientists have suggested a few factors that may interfere with bonehealing, such as nutrition, illnesses such as diabetes, and damage to softtissue surrounding the bone. Helms and her colleagues suspected that softtissue damage interrupts proper blood flow to the fracture, and that proteinsthat encourage angiogenesis, such as VEGF, might help to heal these stubbornbreaks.

To test VEGF as a possible treatment, Helms' team worked with 20 mice withbroken limbs that were being treated with pain-relieving drugs. Aftersplinting the legs of these mice, the researchers shifted the splint each dayto a different position, a procedure that prevents healing growth of new bone,presumably by destroying the newly forming networks of blood vessels.

Manipulating these tiny splints consistently and accurately was a challengingtechnical feat, Helms said. "It requires people with great hands," she said,such as Diane Hu, MD, the staff specialist who perfected the technique.

After 10 days of this treatment, x-rays showed that only cartilage and otherfibrous cells grew in the gap, or interzone, between the pieces of brokenbone.

Helms and her colleagues then injected doses of VEGF into the interzones of 10broken mouse legs, and made sham injections to 10 others. After ten days ofsplint-shifting, the researchers could see osteoblasts, or bone growth cells,developing in interzones of the mice injected with VEGF. The sham-injectedmice still had only fibrous tissue growth. The VEGF-injected mice also hadmuch higher expression of the gene Cbfa1, which is thought to help stimulateformation of new osteoblasts.

Although more research is necessary, VEGF treatment could help to give a happyending to the tragic stories of patients who suffer from non-bony healing, saidTed Miclau, MD, an orthopedic surgeon who works in Helms' lab. "The fracturesthat tend not to heal are open fractures and those from high energy accidents,such as high speed auto, or pedestrian vs. auto accidents,' he said.

In addition to studying VEGF's role in bone healing, Helms' lab is examiningwhether it might also be important in embryonic bone growth. They have beguninjecting either VEGF or inhibitors of VEGF into the limbs of embryonicchickens as they develop in the egg. They will then examine the effects of toolittle or too much VEGF on skeletal development.

Other researchers collaborating on the project were UCSF orthopaedic surgeryresidents Mark Lee, MD, and Christian Oglivie, MD, post-doctoral fellow CelineColnot, PhD, and Thiennu Vu, MD, PhD, a UCSF assistant professor of medicine.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of California, San Francisco. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of California, San Francisco. "Protein That Stimulates Blood Vessel Growth Also Helps Repair Broken Bones." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 March 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/03/000314065623.htm>.
University Of California, San Francisco. (2000, March 14). Protein That Stimulates Blood Vessel Growth Also Helps Repair Broken Bones. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/03/000314065623.htm
University Of California, San Francisco. "Protein That Stimulates Blood Vessel Growth Also Helps Repair Broken Bones." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/03/000314065623.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) The new year is coming and nothing will energize you more for 2015 than protein-filled foods. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) gives his favorite high protein foods that will help you build muscle, lose fat and have endless energy. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins