An in vivo rabbit joint injury model to measure trauma-induced coagulopathy and the effect of timing of administration of ketotifen fumarate on posttraumatic joint contracture

OTA Int. 2022 Mar 10;5(1 Suppl):e177. doi: 10.1097/OI9.0000000000000177. eCollection 2022 Mar.


Objectives: Using a rabbit in vivo joint injury model, the primary objective of the study was to determine if a relationship exists between earlier time to initiation of ketotifen fumarate (KF) treatment and posttraumatic joint contracture (PTJC) reduction. The secondary objective was to determine if a coagulation response could be detected with serial thrombelastography (TEG) analysis following acute trauma in this model.

Methods: PTJC of the knee were created in 25 skeletally mature, New Zealand White rabbits. Five groups of 5 animals were studied: a control group that received twice daily subcutaneous injections of normal saline and 4 treatment groups that received twice daily subcutaneous injections of KF (0.5 mg/kg) starting immediately, 1-, 2-, and 4-weeks post-injury. After 8 weeks of immobilization, flexion contractures were measured biomechanically. Serial TEG analysis was performed on the control group animals pre-injury and weekly post-injury.

Results: The average joint contracture in the Control Group (43.1° ± 16.2°) was higher than all KF treatment groups; however, the differences were not statistically significant. The average joint contracture was lowest in the 2-week post-injury treatment group (29.4° ± 12.1°), although not statistically significant compared to the other treatment groups. Serial TEG analysis demonstrated significantly higher mean maximal amplitude (maximal amplitude = 68.9 ± 1.7 mm; P < .001), alpha-angle (81.9° ± 0.9°; P < .001), and coagulation index (4.5 ± 0.3; P < .001) 1-week post-injury, which normalized to pre-injury values by 5-weeks post-injury.

Conclusions: The use of the mast cell stabilizer KF within 2 weeks of injury demonstrated a nonsignificant trend towards reducing joint contracture in a rabbit in vivo model of PTJC. TEG and the in vivo rabbit joint injury model may be valuable in future preclinical studies of venous thromboembolism prevention and furthering our understanding of the pathophysiology of posttraumatic hypercoagulability.

Keywords: joint contracture; ketotifen fumarate; mast cell stabilizer; posttraumatic; range of motion.