Localization and quantification of proliferating cells during rat fracture repair: Detection of proliferating cell nuclear antigen by immunohistochemistry

Akira Iwaki, Seiya Jingushi, Yoshinao Oda, Toshihiro Izumi, Jun Ichi Shida, Masazumi Tsuneyoshi, Yoichi Sugioka

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111 Citations (Scopus)


Bilateral femurs of 12-week-old female Sprague-Dawley rats were fractured, and the fractured femurs were harvested 36 h, 3, 7, 10, and 14 days after the fracture. Localization of cell proliferation in the fracture calluses was investigated using immunohistochemistry with antiproliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) monoclonal antibodies. Thirty-six hours after the fracture, many PCNA-positive cells were observed in the whole callus. The change was not limited to mesenchymal cells at the fracture site where the inflammatory reaction had occurred, but extended in the periosteum along almost the entire femoral diaphysis where intramembranous ossification was initiated. On day 3, periosteal cells or premature osteoblasts in the newly formed trabecular bone during intramembranous ossification still displayed intense staining. On day 7, many premature chondrocytes and proliferating chondrocytes were PCNA positive. Endochondral ossification appeared on days 10 and 14, and the premature osteoblasts and endothelial cells in the endochondral ossification front were stained with anti-PCNA antibodies. Quantification of PCNA-positive cells was carried out using an image analysis computer system, obtaining a PCNA score for each cellular event. The highest score was observed in the periosteum early after the fracture near the fracture site. Immunohistochemistry using anti-PCNA antibodies showed that the distribution of proliferating cells and the degree of cell proliferation varied according to the time lag after the fracture, suggesting the existence of local regulatory factors such as growth factors, and that significant cell proliferation was observed at the beginning of each cellular event.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)96-102
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Bone and Mineral Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1997

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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