JOURNAL ARTICLE

Recombinant human osteogenic protein-1 induces bone formation in a chronically infected, internally stabilized segmental defect in the rat femur

Xinqian Chen, Andrew H Schmidt, Dean T Tsukayama, Craig A Bourgeault, William D Lew
Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. American Volume 2006, 88 (7): 1510-23
16818977

BACKGROUND: Recombinant human osteogenic protein-1 (rhOP-1), combined with a collagen carrier, has been shown to induce new-bone formation in a variety of animal models. The purpose of the present investigation was to test the hypotheses that rhOP-1 would accelerate bone formation in an internally stabilized, chronically infected, critical-size defect in the rat femur and that this effect would be enhanced by the administration of systemic antibiotic.

METHODS: A 6-mm segmental defect was created surgically, stabilized with a polyacetyl plate and six Kirschner wires, and contaminated with 10(4) colony-forming units of Staphylococcus aureus in one femur in each of 168 Sprague-Dawley rats. After two weeks, these infected defects were débrided surgically and were assigned to one of six treatment groups. The defects in the thirty animals in the first group received lyophilized collagen carrier mixed with 200 microg of rhOP-1 dissolved in buffer, the defects in the thirty animals in the second group received carrier with 20 microg of rhOP-1 in buffer, and the defects in the twenty-four control animals in the third group received carrier mixed with buffer without rhOP-1. The last three groups were treated identically to the first three groups, except that the animals also received the antibiotic ceftriaxone for twenty-eight days after débridement. The animals were killed at two, four, eight, or twelve weeks after débridement. Newly mineralized callus within the defect, and adjacent to and bridging the outside of the defect, was assessed with use of quantitative high-resolution radiography, microcomputed tomography, torsional failure testing, and histological analysis of undecalcified sections.

RESULTS: Bacterial cultures confirmed the presence of a chronic infection during the study period in all animals. At the later time-points, significantly more newly mineralized callus was present within and adjacent to the débrided defects that had been treated with 200 microg of rhOP-1, whereas minimal amounts of callus were present within and adjacent to the defects that had been treated without rhOP-1 and with 20 microg of rhOP-1. At eight and twelve weeks after débridement, there was significantly more newly mineralized callus in the group that had been treated with 200 microg of rhOP-1 with antibiotic than in the group that had been treated with 200 microg of rhOP-1 without antibiotic (p < 0.05). At twelve weeks, the values for torque, energy to failure, and linear stiffness for femora that had been treated with 200 microg of rhOP-1 with antibiotic were not significantly different from the values for intact, contralateral control femora, whereas the values for femora that had been treated with 200 microg of rhOP-1 without antibiotic remained significantly lower than those for the intact, contralateral controls (p < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: Recombinant human osteogenic protein-1 maintained its osteoinductive capability in the presence of chronic infection, and this property was enhanced by antibiotic therapy. No substantial callus formed in the infected defects without a sufficiently high dose of rhOP-1.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE: The treatment of an infection at the site of a fracture often necessitates removal of internal fixation. However, internal fixation is needed for fracture stability. This study presents an intervention that may accelerate fracture-healing in the presence of infection and colonized hardware, thereby permitting earlier removal of the hardware and more timely and effective treatment of the infection.

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