Type 2 Diabetes and Metformin Influence on Fracture Healing in an Experimental Rat Model

Javier La Fontaine, Chris Chen, Nathan Hunt, Edward Jude, Lawrence Lavery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Persons with diabetes have a greater incidence of fractures compared with persons without diabetes. However, very little published information is available concerning the deleterious effect of late-stage diabetes on osseous structure and bone healing. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the role of diabetes on fracture healing in a rat femur repair model. Thirty-six lean and diabetic Zucker rats were subdivided into 3 groups: (1) 12 lean rats as the control group; (2) 12 diabetic rats without blood glucose control (DM group); and (3) 12 diabetic rats treated with 300 mg/kg metformin to reduce the blood glucose levels (DM + Met group). Radiographs were taken every week to determine the incidence of bone repair and delayed union. All the rats were killed at 6 weeks after surgery. In both the sham-operated and the fractured and repaired femurs, significant decreases in the fracture-load/weight and marginal decreases in the fracture-load between the lean and DM groups were found. Metformin treatment significantly reduced the blood glucose and body weight 12 days postoperatively. Furthermore, a decrease in the fracture-load and fracture-load/weight in the repaired femurs was found in the DM + Met group. Diabetes impairs bone fracture healing. Metformin treatment reduces the blood glucose and body weight but had an adverse effect on fracture repair in diabetic rats. Further investigations are needed to reveal the mechanisms responsible for the effects of type 2 diabetes mellitus on bone and bone quality and the effect of medications such as metformin might have in diabetic bone in the presence of neuropathy and vascular disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)955-960
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Foot and Ankle Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016


  • diabetes
  • fracture healing
  • metformin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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