Alyson Morse, Michelle M. McDonald, Aaron Schindeler, Lauren Peacock, Kathy Mikulec, Tegan L. Cheng, Min Liu, Hua Zhu Ke, David G. Little
Open fractures remain a challenge in orthopedics. Current strategies to intervene are often inadequate, particularly in severe fractures or when treatment is delayed. Sclerostin is a negative regulator of bone growth and sclerostin-neutralizing antibodies (Scl-Ab) can increase bone mass and strength. The application of these antibodies to improve orthopedic repair has shown varied results, and may be dependent on the location and severity of the bony injury. We examined Scl-Ab treatment within an established rat osteotomy model with periosteal stripping analogous to open fracture repair. In one study, Scl-Ab was given 25 mg/kg bi-weekly, either from the time of fracture or from 3 weeks post-fracture up to an end-point of 12 weeks. A second study treated only delayed union open fractures that did not show radiographic union by week 6 post-fracture. Outcome measures included radiographic union, microCT analysis of bone volume and architecture, and histology. In the first study, Scl-Ab given from either 0 or 3 weeks significantly improved callus bone volume (+52%, p < 0.05 and +58%, p < 0.01) at 12 weeks, as well as strength (+48%, p < 0.05 and +70%, p < 0.05). Despite these improvements, union rate was not changed. In the second study treating only established delayed fractures, bony callus volume was similarly increased by Scl-Ab treatment; however, this did not translate to increased biomechanical strength or union improvement. Sclerostin antibody treatment has limited effects on the healing of challenging open fractures with periosteal stripping, but shows the greatest benefits on callus size and strength with earlier intervention.