Nov 17 2009
The influence of pulsed low-frequency electromagnetic fields (PEMFs) on bone formation was investigated in studies of the healing process of transcortical holes, bored at the diaphyseal region of metacarpal bones of six adult horses, exposed for 30 days to PEMFs (28 G peak amplitude, 1.3 ms rise time, and 75 Hz repetition rate).
A pair of Helmholtz coils, continuously powered by a pulse generator, was applied for 30 days to the left metacarpal bone, through which two holes, of equal diameter and depth, had been bored at the diaphyseal region. Two equal holes, bored at the same level in the right metacarpal and surrounded by an inactive pair of Helmholtz coils, were used as controls. All horses were given an intravenous injection of 25-30 mg/kg of tetracycline chloride on the 15th and again on the 25th day after the operation and were killed 5 days later.
The histomorphometric analysis indicated that both the amount of bone formed during 30 days and the mineral apposition rate during 10 days (deduced from the interval between the two tetracycline labels) were significantly greater (p < 0.01 and p < 0.0001, respectively) in the PEMF-treated holes than in the controls.
As did a previous investigation, these preliminary findings indicate that PEMFs at low frequency not only stimulate bone repair but also seem to improve the osteogenic phase of the healing process, at least in our experimental conditions.
Institute of Human Anatomy, University of Modena, Italy.