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Effect of pulsed electromagnetic fields on human osteoblast cultures.


Barnaba S, Papalia R, Ruzzini L, Sgambato A, Maffulli N, Denaro V.


Department of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery, Campus Biomedico University of Rome, Via Alvaro del Portillo 200, Rome, Italy.


Exogenous electromagnetic fields (EMFs) affect bone metabolism, but the mechanisms responsible for this phenomenon are unclear. Pulsed EMFs (PEMFs) can be effective in the management of congenital pseudarthrosis or delayed union or non-union of fractures. We investigated the effects of PEMFs used in clinical practice on human osteoblast cultures.


Primary osteoblastic cells were isolated from a human femoral head. Cultures were exposed to the PEMF stimulation for 72 hours, 7 and 10 days and compared with a control group of primary osteoblastic cells non-exposed to PEMF. Cell growth and alkaline phosphatase activity were evaluated in the osteoblast cell cultures at each observation time.


At each observation time, the differences in cell numbers between PEMF-exposed cells and control group were statistically significant (p < 0.05). The alkaline phosphatase-specific activity of PEMF-exposed osteoblast cultures showed a statistically significant (p < 0.05) increase when compared with the control group after 7 and 10 days of exposure.


The application of PEMF stimulation on human osteoblasts accelerates cellular proliferation when compared with a control group of non-PEMF-exposed cells.

Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


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