Effect of a persistent inflammatory process on experimental heterotopic ossification. The influence of macrophages

Braz J Med Biol Res. 1993;26(1):53-66.


1. We investigated the effect of a persistent carrageenin- or nystatin-induced inflammatory reaction on heterotopic ossification produced by the subcutaneous implant of a demineralized bone matrix in female Swiss mice (25 to 35 g). 2. Subcutaneous carrageenin injection (0.3 ml of a 2% solution in saline) into mice induced an inflammatory reaction characterized by a mature granuloma predominantly of macrophages containing particles of the irritant in their cytoplasm and which remained unchanged until the end of the experiment (40th day). 3. Subcutaneous nystatin inoculation (30,000 IU in 0.3 ml saline) induced an inflammatory reaction consisting initially of macrophages (4th day) but later turning into an epithelioid granuloma (7th day) consisting predominantly of epithelioid cells and which was present up to the 21st day when it was gradually replaced by adipocytes up to the 30th day. 4. An intramuscular implant of demineralized bone matrix (DBM, approximately 10 mg) induced the formation of cartilage and bone tissue and of hemopoietic bone marrow (heterotopic ossification) in 100% of the control animals (N = 5). An intramuscular DBM implant in animals that received carrageenin (N = 19) or nystatin (N = 21) induced heterotopic ossification in 100 and 57% (P < 0.01) of the animals, respectively. 5. The response to a dorsal subcutaneous DBM implant was essentially negative in control animals (N = 5), whereas implants performed near the site injected with carrageenin (N = 28) or nystatin (N = 31) produced a response in 71 (P < 0.01) and 36% (P < 0.01) of the animals, respectively. A DBM implant into the contralateral (control) dorsal subcutaneous tissue of the same animals that received carrageenin (N = 25) or nystatin (N = 29) resulted in heterotopic ossification in 64 (P < 0.01) and 7% of the animals, respectively. 6. The results suggest that the macrophages present in the mature granuloma induced by carrageenin somehow favored the development of metaplastic plates after subcutaneous DBM implant and that this effect may be systemic since the same response was observed in contralateral subcutaneous tissue.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Matrix / transplantation
  • Carrageenan
  • Female
  • Inflammation / chemically induced
  • Inflammation / physiopathology*
  • Macrophages / physiology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Nystatin
  • Ossification, Heterotopic / pathology
  • Ossification, Heterotopic / physiopathology*
  • Time Factors


  • Nystatin
  • Carrageenan