Background: Cigarette smoking inhibits bone-healing and leads to increased rates of pseudarthrosis. However, the mechanisms behind these effects are controversial. Dioxin (2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin)-a cigarette smoke constituent and potent activator of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (Ahr)-negatively impacts bone quality and osteoblast differentiation. We hypothesized that activation of the Ahr by dioxin would inhibit bone morphogenetic protein (BMP)- 2-mediated spinal fusion in a rat arthrodesis model. Methods: Female Long-Evans rats were pretreated with dioxin or vehicle in six weekly doses, followed by bilateral posterior lumbar spinal fusion across the L4-L5 transverse processes using recombinant human BMP (rhBMP)-2. Treatments continued until sacrifice at four weeks postoperatively. A third group was treated with dioxin for six weeks, followed by a recovery period of four elimination half-lives to assess the reversible effects of dioxin exposure on spinal fusion capacity. Bone formation and fusion capacity were evaluated using fusion scoring, radiography, micro-computed tomography, and histologic analysis. Results: Fusion scores for dioxin-treated and dioxin-recovery rats were significantly lower than those for controls. Although fusion rates were also significantly reduced in dioxin-treated animals relative to controls (50% versus 100%, respectively), rates were not significantly reduced in dioxin-recovery animals (80%). Conclusions: Dioxin treatment significantly inhibited spinal fusion in a rat arthrodesis model, and a prolonged cessation of dioxin exposure facilitated only a partial recovery of bone-healing capacity. This finding indicates that, although the effects of dioxin are persistent, an extended recovery from exposure could potentially restore bone regeneration in vivo. Clinical Relevance: Development of a pharmacologic agent that reduces the adverse effects of cigarette smoke on bone-healing could prove useful to orthopaedic surgeons. Since dioxin and other similar cigarette smoke toxins exert their effects through Ahr pathway activation, the receptor represents a potential therapeutic target to improve spinal fusion rates in patients who smoke.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery - American Volume|
|State||Published - Jan 1 2015|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine