Collagen X Longitudinal Fracture Biomarker Suggests Staged Fixation in Tibial Plateau Fractures Delays Rate of Endochondral Repair

Zachary M. Working, Danielle Peterson, Michelle Lawson, Kelsey O'Hara, Ryan Coghlan, Matthew T. Provencher, Darin M. Friess, Brian Johnstone, Theodore Miclau, Chelsea S. Bahney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objectives: To use a novel, validated bioassay to monitor serum concentrations of a breakdown product of collagen X in a prospective longitudinal study of patients sustaining isolated tibial plateau fractures. Collagen X is the hallmark extracellular matrix protein present during conversion of soft, cartilaginous callus to bone during endochondral repair. Previous preclinical and clinical studies demonstrated a distinct peak in collagen X biomarker (CXM) bioassay levels after long bone fractures. Setting: Level 1 academic trauma facility. Patients/Participants: Thirty-six patients; isolated tibial plateau fractures. Intervention: (3) Closed treatment, ex-fix (temporizing/definitive), and open reduction internal fixation. Main Outcome Measurements: Collagen X serum biomarker levels (CXM bioassay). Results: Twenty-two men and 14 women (average age: 46.3 y; 22.6-73.4, SD 13.3) enrolled (16 unicondylar and 20 bicondylar fractures). Twenty-five patients (72.2%) were treated operatively, including 12 (33.3%) provisionally or definitively treated by ex-fix. No difference was found in peak CXM values between sexes or age. Patients demonstrated peak expression near 1000 pg/mL (average: male-986.5 pg/mL, SD 369; female-953.2 pg/mL, SD 576). There was no difference in peak CXM by treatment protocol, external fixator use, or fracture severity (Schatzker). Patients treated with external fixation (P = 0.05) or staged open reduction internal fixation (P = 0.046) critically demonstrated delayed peaks. Conclusions: Pilot analysis demonstrates a strong CXM peak after fractures commensurate with previous preclinical and clinical studies, which was delayed with staged fixation. This may represent the consequence of delayed construct loading. Further validation requires larger cohorts and long-term follow-up. Collagen X may provide an opportunity to support prospective interventional studies testing novel orthobiologics or fixation techniques.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S32-S39
JournalJournal of orthopaedic trauma
StatePublished - Feb 1 2022


  • Biomarkers
  • Collagen X
  • Fracture healing
  • Tibial plateau

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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