Efficacy of etanercept for wear debris-induced osteolysis

Lisa M. Childs, J. Jeffrey Goater, Regis J. O’keefe, Edward M. Schwarz

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141 Scopus citations


A major limitation of total joint arthroplasty is that up to 20% of patients require revision surgery to correct prosthetic loosening. Aseptic loosening is believed to result from the phagocytosis of wear debris particles by macrophages, which secrete proinflammatory cytokines that stimulate osteolysis. Tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α) has been shown to be one of the prominent cytokines in this cascade and to be involved critically in the generation of particle-induced osteolysis. Etanercept is a soluble inhibitor of TNF-α, which is widely used for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Here, we show this agent's ability to prevent wear debris-induced osteolysis. In vitro we show that Etanercept can inhibit directly osteoclastic bone resorption in a bone wafer pit assay, as well as cytokine production from titanium (Ti)-stimulated macrophages. Using a quantitative in vivo model of wear debris-induced osteolysis, we show that Etanercept prevents bone resorption and osteoclastogenesis. In mice treated with Etanercept at the time of osteolysis induction, bone resorption and osteoclast numbers were reduced to background levels in both normal and human TNF-α (hTNF-α) transgenic mice. In an effort to evaluate its effect on established osteolysis, Etanercept was administered 5 days after Ti implantation, and we observed that further osteolysis was prevented. These data support the concept that TNF-α is involved critically in osteoclastogenesis and bone resorption during periprosthetic osteolysis and suggest that soluble TNF-α inhibitors may be useful as therapeutic agents for the treatment of prosthetic loosening in humans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)338-347
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Bone and Mineral Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2001


  • Aseptic loosening
  • Etanercept
  • Osteolysis
  • Tumor necrosis factor α


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