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Neuerburg, Carl; Mittlmeier, Lena M.; Keppler, Alexander M.; Westphal, Ines; Glass, Änne; Saller, Maximilian M.; Herlyn, Philipp K. E.; Richter, Heiko; Böcker, Wolfgang; Schieker, Matthias; Aszodi, Attila and Fischer, Dagmar-C. (2019): Growth factor-mediated augmentation of long bones: evaluation of a BMP-7 loaded thermoresponsive hydrogel in a murine femoral intramedullary injection model. In: Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research 14:297 [PDF, 1MB]


Background Due to our aging population, an increase in proximal femur fractures can be expected, which is associated with impaired activities of daily living and a high risk of mortality. These patients are also at a high risk to suffer a secondary osteoporosis-related fracture on the contralateral hip. In this context, growth factors could open the field for regenerative approaches, as it is known that, i.e., the growth factor BMP-7 (bone morphogenetic protein 7) is a potent stimulator of osteogenesis. Local prophylactic augmentation of the proximal femur with a BMP-7 loaded thermoresponsive hydrogel during index surgery of an osteoporotic fracture could be suitable to reduce the risk of further osteoporosis-associated secondary fractures. The present study therefore aims to test the hypothesis if a BMP-7 augmented hydrogel is an applicable carrier for the augmentation of non-fractured proximal femurs. Furthermore, it needs to be shown that the minimally invasive injection of a hydrogel into the mouse femur is technically feasible. Methods In this study, male C57BL/6 mice (n = 36) received a unilateral femoral intramedullary injection of either 100 μl saline, 100 μl 1,4 Butan-Diisocyanat (BDI)-hydrogel, or 100 μl hydrogel loaded with 1 μg of bone morphogenetic protein 7. Mice were sacrificed 4 and 12 weeks later. The femora were submitted to high-resolution X-ray tomography and subsequent histological examination. Results Analysis of normalized CtBMD (Cortical bone mineral density) as obtained by X-ray micro-computed tomography analysis revealed significant differences depending on the duration of treatment (4 vs 12 weeks; p < 0.05). Furthermore, within different anatomically defined regions of interest, significant associations between normalized TbN (trabecular number) and BV/TV (percent bone volume) were noted. Histology indicated no signs of inflammation and no signs of necrosis and there were no cartilage damages, no new bone formations, or new cartilage tissues, while BMP-7 was readily detectable in all of the samples. Conclusions In conclusion, the murine femoral intramedullary injection model appears to be feasible and worth to be used in subsequent studies that are directed to examine the therapeutic potential of BMP-7 loaded BDI-hydrogel. Although we were unable to detect any significant osseous effects arising from the mode or duration of treatment in the present trial, the effect of different concentrations and duration of treatment in an osteoporotic model appears of interest for further experiments to reach translation into clinic and open new strategies of growth factor-mediated augmentation.

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