Total hip arthroplasty is one of the most commonly performed and successful elective orthopaedic procedures. However, numerous failure mechanisms limit the long-term success including aseptic osteolysis, aseptic loosening, infection, and implant instability. Aseptic osteolysis and subsequent implant failure occur because of a chronic inflammatory response to implant-derived wear particles. To reduce particulate debris and their consequences, implants have had numerous design modifications including high-molecular-weight polyethylene sockets and noncemented implants that rely on bone ingrowth for fixation. Surgical techniques have improved cementation with the use of medullary plugs, cement guns, lavage of the canal, pressurization, centralization of the stem, and reduction in cement porosity. Despite these advances, aseptic osteolysis continues to limit implant longevity. Numerous proinflammatory cytokines, such as interleukin-1, interleukin-6, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, and prostaglandin E2, have proosteoclastogenic effects in response to implant-derived wear particles. However, none of these cytokines represents a final common pathway for the process of particle-induced osteoclast differentiation and maturation. Recent work has identified the fundamental role of the RANKL-RANK-NF-kappaB pathway not only in osteoclastogenesis but also in the development and function the immune system. Thus, the immune system and skeletal homeostasis may be linked in the process of osteoclastogenesis and osteolysis.





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