Poorly healing mandibular osteotomies can be a difficult problem in reconstructive surgery. Many therapies have been attempted to augment the healing of mandibular fractures, defects, or osteotomies, but these methods have substantial drawbacks or have been ineffective. The difficulty in treating poorly healing bony defects has led to the exploration of gene therapy as a possible approach to supplement or accelerate mandibular fracture healing. To understand at what point the introduction of a suitable gene candidate might be of benefit in mandibular healing, it is imperative to examine the temporal expression of bone growth factors in a model of membranous bone healing. Insulinlike growth factors (IGFs) I and II are two such bone growth factor candidates because of their known potent in vitro as well as in vivo effects on bone formation. In this study the authors demonstrate the temporal pattern of IGF I and IGF II gene expression during mandibular osteotomy healing using a rat model. Their data reveal that IGF I and IGF II were elevated 7 days after a mandibular osteotomy that was held in external fixation. The upregulation of IGF I and IGF II during mandibular bone healing underscores the importance of these growth factors in bone repair. Gene therapy utilizing recombinant viral constructs containing IGFs I and II may be of benefit during mandibular bone healing in an effort to augment clinical scenarios of poor or retarded bony repair.
Steinbrech DS, Mehrara BJ, Rowe NM, Dudziak ME, Saadeh PB, Gittes GK, Longaker MT. Gene expression of insulin-like growth factors I and II in rat membranous osteotomy healing. Ann Plast Surg 1999;42:481–487