OBJECTIVE: To compare two clinically applied treatments to stimulate bone healing-low-intensity pulsed ultrasound (LIPUS) and pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF)-for their effects on RANKL and OPG expression in osteoblast-like cells in vitro.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: LIPUS or PEMF was applied to Saos-2 cells for 10 minutes or 3 hours. RANKL and OPG expressions were analyzed at 0, 4, 8, or 12 hours after treatment with real-time PCR. Secreted protein levels in culture supernatant were analyzed at the same posttreatment time points using specific ELISA assays.
RESULTS: Neither LIPUS nor PEMF had an effect on RANKL protein expression. OPG protein was significantly increased by LIPUS after 0 and 4 hours (brief short-term effect) and was increased almost 2.5-fold by PEMF after 8 hours. The mRNA levels of OPG and RANKL were hardly affected by LIPUS treatment at any time point. PEMF induced a fivefold increase in RANKL mRNA expression at t = 0. A brief PEMF treatment of 10 minutes resulted in downregulation of RANKL expression after 0 and 4 hours and upregulation at 12 hours. OPG mRNA was downregulated after 8 hours.
CONCLUSION: The effects of LIPUS or PEMF expression on OPG and RANKL are limited. From our experiments, it seems that LIPUS treatment resulted in a quick protein response, while the response of cells to PEMF (3 hours) was delayed. The increase in OPG protein at 8 hours post PEMF treatment is indicative of reduction of osteolysis.