Effects of cyclooxygenase inhibition on bone, tendon, and ligament healing

Inflamm Res. 2005 Sep;54(9):358-66. doi: 10.1007/s00011-005-1367-4.


Cyclooxygenases (COX-1 and COX-2) catalyze the conversion of arachidonic acid to prostaglandins (PGs). PGs play a significant role in bone metabolism in health and disease. Conventional non-selective, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and selective COX-2 inhibitors (COXIBs) are widely used in patients with musculoskeletal conditions and as a post-surgical analgesics. Due to their effects on PG synthesis, these drugs have been hypothesized to affect the healing process of bone fractures and orthopedic surgical sites. A variety of experimental models of bone, ligament, and tendon repair have assessed the effects of these selective and non-selective COX inhibitors in animals, but with variable outcomes. At this time, large-scale, robust clinical study data do not exist, limiting the relevant assessment of experimental animal data to humans. Here, we provide a critical review of available data on the role of PGs and the effect of COX inhibitors on bone, tendon, and ligament repair. Collectively, this assessment suggests potential involvement of PGs in the healing process of these tissues via modulation by non-selective NSAIDs and selective COX-2 inhibitors.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone and Bones / physiology*
  • Cyclooxygenase Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Ligaments / physiology*
  • Tendons / physiology*
  • Wound Healing / drug effects*


  • Cyclooxygenase Inhibitors