Effect of recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein-2 on fracture healing in a goat tibial fracture model

R D Welch, A L Jones, R W Bucholz, C M Reinert, J S Tjia, W A Pierce, J M Wozney, X J Li
Journal of Bone and Mineral Research 1998, 13 (9): 1483-90
Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) are considered to have important regulatory roles in skeletal embryogenesis and bone healing. Recombinant human BMPs (rhBMPs) have been shown to heal critical size defects and promote spinal fusion. We studied the effects of rhBMP-2 in an absorbable collagen sponge (ACS) on bone healing in a large animal tibial fracture model. Bilateral closed tibial fractures were created in 16 skeletally mature goats and reduced and stabilized using external fixation. In each animal, one tibia received the study device (0.86 mg of rhBMP-2/ACS or buffer/ACS), and the contralateral fracture served as control. The device was implanted as a folded onlay or wrapped circumferentially around the fracture. Six weeks following fracture, the animals were sacrificed and the tibiae harvested for torsional testing and histomorphologic evaluation. Radiographs indicated increased callus at 3 weeks in the rhBMP-2/ACS treated tibiae. At 6 weeks, the rhBMP-2/ACS wrapped fractures had superior radiographic healing scores compared with buffer groups and controls. The rhBMP-2/ACS produced a significant increase in torsional toughness (p = 0.02), and trends of increased torsional strength and stiffness (p = 0.09) compared with fracture controls. The device placed in a wrapped fashion around the fracture produced significantly tougher callus (p = 0.02) compared with the onlay application. Total callus new bone volume was significantly increased (p = 0.02) in the rhBMP-2/ACS fractures compared with buffer groups and controls regardless of the method of device application. The rhBMP-2/ACS did not alter the timing of onset of periosteal/endosteal callus formation compared with controls. Neither the mineral apposition rates nor bone formation rates were affected by rhBMP-2/ACS treatment. The increased callus volume associated with rhBMP-2 treatment produced only moderate increases in strength and stiffness.


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