Pregnancy-associated plasma protein A (PAPP-A), a metalloproteinase that regulates IGF bioavailability in vitro through cleavage of inhibitory IGF-binding protein-4 (IGFBP-4), has been implicated in skeletal development and injury repair responses. However, direct in vivo data are lacking. In this study, we used PAPP-A knock-out (KO) mice to determine the role of PAPP-A in fracture repair. Stabilized mid-shaft fractures were produced in femurs of 3-month-old mice. At 14 days post-fracture, complete bony bridging of the fracture callus was seen radiographically in wild-type but not in PAPP-A KO mice. Histological examination 5 to 28 days post-fracture showed reductions in the amount of intramembranous bone formation, cartilage production, endochondral ossification and remodeling in PAPP-A KO compared with wild-type mice. However, fracture healing appeared similar in both groups at 42 days post-fracture when analyzed by histology. A similar degree of healing strength in wild-type and PAPP-A KO femurs was demonstrated by mechanical testing at 28 and 42 days post-fracture. Untreated cultures of day 5 fracture calluses from wild-type mice showed robust IGFBP-4 protease activity and IGF receptor phosphorylation, whereas fracture calluses from PAPP-A KO mice had no IGFBP-4 protease activity and reduced IGF receptor phosphorylation. These data demonstrate a marked delay in fracture healing in PAPP-A KO compared with wild-type mice, and suggest that PAPP-A is necessary in the early phases of the process for expeditious fracture repair. The ability of PAPP-A to enhance local IGF action may be an important mechanism for optimizing the fracture repair response.