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The Central Role of Wear Debris in Periprosthetic Osteolysis

HSS Journal

Periprosthetic osteolysis remains the leading complication of total hip arthroplasty, often resulting in aseptic loosening of the implant, and a requirement for revision surgery. Wear-generated particular debris is the main cause of initiating this destructive process. The purpose of this article is to review recent advances in our understanding of how wear debris causes osteolysis, and emergent strategies for the avoidance and treatment of this disease. The most important cellular target for wear debris is the macrophage, which responds to particle challenge in two distinct ways, both of which contribute to increased bone resorption. First, it is well known that wear debris activates proinflammatory signaling, which leads to increased osteoclast recruitment and activation. More recently, it has been established that wear also inhibits the protective actions of antiosteoclastogenic cytokines such as interferon gamma, thus promoting differentiation of macrophages to bone-resorbing osteoclasts. Osteoblasts, fibroblasts, and possibly lymphocytes may also be involved in responses to wear. At a molecular level, wear particles activate MAP kinase cascades, NF?B and other transcription factors, and induce expression of suppressors of cytokine signaling. Strategies to reduce osteolysis by choosing bearing surface materials with reduced wear properties (such as metal-on-metal) should be balanced by awareness that reducing particle size may increase biological activity. Finally, although therapeutic agents against proinflammatory mediators [such as tumor necrosis factor (TNF)] and osteoclasts (bisphosphonates and molecules blocking RANKL signaling) have shown promise in animal models, no approved treatments are yet available to osteolysis patients. Considerable efforts are underway to develop such therapies, and to identify novel targets for therapeutic intervention.

This article appears in HSS Journal: Volume 2, Number 2.
View the full article at springerlink.com.

About the HSS Journal
HSS Journal, an academic peer-reviewed journal, is published twice a year, February and September, and features articles by internal faculty and HSS alumni that present current research and clinical work in the field of musculoskeletal medicine performed at HSS, including research articles, surgical procedures, and case reports.


Headshot of Thomas P. Sculco, MD
Thomas P. Sculco, MD
Director, Complex Joint Reconstruction Center
Surgeon-in-Chief Emeritus, Hospital for Special Surgery
P. Edward Purdue, PhD
Osteolysis Research Laboratory
Hospital for Special Surgery

Panagiotis Koulouvaris, MD, PhD
Osteolysis Research Laboratory
Hospital for Special Surgery

Bryan J. Nestor, MD
Associate Attending Orthopaedic Surgeon, Hospital for Special Surgery
Associate Professor in Orthopaedic Surgery, Weill Cornell Medical College

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