Pigs are useful for the molecular study of bone inflammation and regeneration in humans

Freja Lea Lüthje*, Kerstin Skovgaard, Henrik Elvang Jensen, Louise Kruse Jensen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Pigs are used with increased frequency to model different kinds of orthopedic surgical conditions. In order to show the full potential of porcine models in orthopedic research, it is therefore required to examine the expression of bone regulatory genes in pigs affected by orthopedic surgery and compare it to the expression in humans and mice as mice, are one of the most applied animal species in orthopedics today. In the present study, the local molecular response to drilling of a tibial implant cavity, and the subsequent insertion of a steel implant was examined in a porcine model. Pigs were euthanized five days after drilling of the bone. The molecular response of 73 different genes was analyzed using a high-throughput quantitative polymerase chain reaction platform and compared to histopathology. Histologically, it was found that bone remodeling was initiated on day 5 after surgery and was associated with upregulation of several genes involved in bone degradation and formation ( CTSK, ACP5, IBSP, RANK, RANKL and COL1A1). Interleukin-6 and several acute-phase proteins (C3, SAA and ITIH4) were significantly upregulated, indicating their importance in the initial process of healing and osseointegration. All tested bone morphogenic proteins (BMP2, -4 and -7) including their inhibitor noggin were also significantly upregulated. Surprisingly, vascular endothelial growth factor A was not found to be regulated five days after surgery while several other vascular growth factors (ANGPT1, ANGPT2 and PTN) were upregulated. The pig was found to be a useful model for elucidation of bone regulatory genes in humans.
Original languageEnglish
JournalLaboratory Animals
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)630-640
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Porcine model
  • Acute-phase proteins
  • Aseptic inflammation
  • Bone drilling
  • Bone healing
  • Gene expression
  • Growth factors
  • High-throughput RT-qPCR
  • Orthopedic implant
  • Orthopedic surgery
  • Osseointegration


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