Expression of the Angiomatrix and Angiogenic Proteins CYR61, CTGF, and VEGF in Osteonecrosis of the Femoral Head

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Angiogenesis and bone repair are closely linked processes. VEGF, CYR61, and CTGF have been identified as signaling factors that control angiogenesis and could be important in fracture healing. The purpose of this study was to investigate the expression of these signaling factors in osteonecrosis of the femoral head. Twenty-one bone cylinders were retrieved from hips of patients with osteonecrosis of the femoral head at different ARCO stages. Immunohistochemistry for CD34, CYR61, CTGF, and VEGF expression was done on each bone cylinder representing the different regions of osteonecrosis (necrosis, fibrosis, transition zone, and edematous area). VEGF, CYR61, and CTGF were expressed in samples with osteonecrosis. Particularly VEGF and CYR61 were highly expressed in the edematous area. CYR61 was also highly expressed in the transition zone. CTGF was expressed mainly in the area of marrow fibrosis and edema. CYR61, CTGF, and VEGF are expressed to different degrees in the different repair zones of osteonecrosis. Particularly, the high expression of VEGF and CYR61 in the edematous area may represent a consequence of hypoxia and indicate a role of these proteins in the repair processes ongoing in osteonecrosis.

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