Fracture healing is a complex bone formation process, and neovascularization may contribute to new bone regeneration. The circulating endothelial progenitor cell (EPC) mobilization and homing could involve in neovascularization and vasculogenesis. In this study, we investigate the changes of circulating EPC during bone fracture healing, and the possible contribution of EPCs to increased neovascularization and fracture healing. The number of circulating EPCs was monitored in twenty-four patients with long bone traumatic fracture within the first 48 h and at 3, 5, 10, and 14 days post-fracture. The mononuclear cells which isolated from peripheral blood were analyzed by flow cytometry. Peripheral blood counts of leukocytes and platelets were measured by hematology analyzer. The amount of peripheral EPCs significantly increased in patients with fracture compared to age-matched healthy control subjects within the first 48 h after injury, and peaked at 3 days post-fracture. There was no significant difference in the change trend of early EPCs between male and female, but the number of early EPCs was significantly greater in younger patients compared to older patients. A comparison of the EPCs levels between patients with severe injury (ISS > 16) and patients with mild injury (ISS ≤ 16) revealed no statistically significant difference. The level of early EPCs was inverse correlation with the level of plate after fracture, but no correlation with the level of peripheral leucocytes. These findings suggest traumatic fracture may induce the mobilization of EPCs into the peripheral circulation. The increased EPCs may contribute to neovascularization and involve in fracture healing.
Copyright © 2012 Orthopaedic Research Society.