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Long-term stress interferes with healing of bone fractures

Psycho-social Stress impedes the healing of the bones solid

Already in the normal case, it will take weeks, until the bone fractures are healed. However, it can sometimes take much longer. Because researchers have now found that chronic psychosocial Stress impedes the fracture-healing solid.

Fracture healing takes weeks

When bones break, it takes normally weeks, until they are healed again. “The duration of the fracture healing depends on the injured bone, and can last between three weeks (in children) up to twelve weeks,” writes the techniker Krankenkasse (TK) on your website. However, due to chronic psycho-social Stress, the fracture is found hinders healing, researchers now.

In a study it has been shown that chronic psycho-social Stress impedes the healing of bone fractures solid. (Image: VadimGuzhva/

Bone healing is massively hindered

A team of researchers from the University of Ulm has found together with specialist colleagues from California, that chronic psycho-social Stress impedes the healing of the bones solid.

In the study, which was published in the journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” (PNAS), were able to show the scientists that this stress can bone healing-related disorders with the help of the beta blockers Propranolol how to fix.

How a communication is declared, the communication of stress hormones of the sympathetic nervous system with various immune cells, thus preventing stress-mediated over-reaction of the immune system.

Higher risk of fracture in post-traumatic stress disorder

Many people who have extremely experienced situations – whether in war, on the run, as well as abuse, violence, or traffic accident victims often suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The consequences of such an extreme experience of Stress not only mentally, but also physically noticeable. So Sufferers with PTSD are significantly more frequently affected by chronic inflammatory diseases, and also have a much higher risk of fracture.

“We asked ourselves, therefore, whether such a stress syndrome also has a negative effect on fracture healing,” said Professor Stefan Reber, head of the section of Molecular medicine at Ulm University clinic for Psychosomatic medicine and psychotherapy.

Together with the Institute of orthopaedic research and biomechanics, University of Ulm, the research has explored team now, whether and how chronic psychosocial Stress affects the bone healing processes.

The researchers have uncovered a key molecular mechanism that mediates the effect of chronic Stress on the immune system and the Regeneration of bone tissue.

The Blockade of this pathway fracture healing disorder was finally even with medication to repeal.

New bone formation is disturbed

“Breaks someone’s leg, can occur shortly thereafter, at the point of break local immune reactions. The body is probed, so to speak, of the situation and eliminates the damaged tissue,“ said Professor Anita Ignatius.

“With time, bone cells from overgrown to the fracture-induced gap, and the fracture heals,” says the Director of the Institute of orthopaedic research and biomechanics.

However, in the case of long-lasting Stress, it comes to disorders of this acute immunological processes and Overshooting of the inflammatory response.

Thus, cells such as neutrophil granulocytes, which migrate at the point of fracture in the resulting hematoma to develop in the bone marrow and increasingly immune.

On the other hand, the conversion of cartilage is disturbed to the bone and thus bone formation, as in the Ulm study showed. The bending stiffness of the bone decreases measurably, and the newly formed bone tissue is no longer at the point of fracture so hard.

Effective Treatment

Another finding of the study: The excessive immune response and the interference of tissue regeneration is mediated by a molecular pathway, the specific receptors involved, the respond to adrenaline (beta-Adrenoceptors).

There is a connection to the so-called sympathetic nervous system. This is a part of the autonomic nervous system, the body reacts to Stress and danger.

“This adrenaline-mediated signaling pathway that could be interrupted by the administration of Propranolol. Thus, not only the immune responses, but also the healing of the bones was undisturbed, returned to normal,“ said Dr. Melanie Haffner-Luntzer.

“The basic findings from this new study not only bring light into the complex interplay between nervous system, immune system and Tissue regeneration. You will certainly also help to treat bone fractures in people with post-traumatic stress disorder effective“, the team of researchers agreed.

This can be, among other things, severely injured traffic accident victims or soldiers in war operations. (ad)