In vitro testing of the potential for orthopedic bone cements to cause apoptosis of osteoblast-like cells

Author(s): Ciapetti G, Granchi D, Savarino L, Cenni E, Magrini E, et al.


The purpose of this study was to investigate in vitro the apoptosis- and/or necrosis-inducing potential of polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA)-based bone cements for prosthetic surgery. Four bone cements widely used in orthopedics were tested as extracts onto osteoblast-like MG-63 cells and for comparison, HL-60 cells, which are remarkably sensitive to apoptotic stimuli. Neutral red uptake (NRU) was used to measure cell viability while Hoechst 33258 staining was used to detect DNA content. Apoptosis was characterized using a BrdU-based ELISA assay for DNA fragmentation and examined by fluorescence microscopy using acridine orange and propidium iodide staining of nuclei. The generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which could mediate apoptosis, was verified using dichlorofluorescein-diacetate (DCFH-DA) oxidation to DCF. After 24 h of challenge of the cells with the four cement extracts, the viability of either MG-63 or HL-60 cells was found to be unaltered, as recorded by NRU. Apoptotic cell death was induced by three cements in HL-60, whereas MG-63 cells were significantly affected by the four cements tested: the finding of DNA fragments both in the cytoplasm and supernatants of MG-63 after 24 h demonstrated that these cells underwent late-apoptosis secondary necrosis. Fluorescent staining of the nuclei confirmed the results obtained with the ELISA test. Oxygen free radicals were elicited by two cements in HL-60 cells, while MG-63 did not generate ROS in response to cements. This study helps to gain more insight into the mechanism of cell death induced by PMMA-based cements and suggests apoptosis of osteoblasts as a part of the tissue reaction around cemented prostheses.

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