Callus Formation Enhanced by BMP-7 Ex Vivo Gene Therapy During Distraction Osteogenesis in Rats

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This study was designed to observe the effects of bone morphogenetic protein-7 (BMP-7) ex vivo gene therapy on callus formation during rat mandibular distraction osteogenesis (DO). Fifty-four Sprague-Dawley rats underwent osteodistraction of the right mandible and were then randomly divided into three groups. Immediately after distraction, autologous bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) transfected with BMP-7, MSCs untransfected with BMP-7, and physiological saline were injected into the distraction gaps of the mandibles in groups A, B, and C, respectively. Nine animals from each group were euthanized at 2 and 6 weeks after completion of distraction. The distracted mandibles were removed and processed for radiographic, histological, immunohistochemical, and scanning electron microscopic examinations as well as Ca/P ratio analysis. Group A animals showed greater bone formation and earlier mineralization in the distracted callus when compared with group B. Similarly increased callus formation was found in groupBthan group C. Positive immunostaining of BMP-7 was observed in the distracted callus in all groups. However, BMP-7 expression was much stronger in group A compared with groups B and C. The results of this study suggest that BMP-7-mediated ex vivo gene transfer based on MSCs may accelerate callus formation in distraction osteogenesis and facilitate consolidation. Local gene therapy may ultimately be an alternative or supplemental approach to DO enhancement, especially for patients whose osteogenic potentials are compromised by diseases such as osteoporosis, severe trauma, and postoncologic irradiation. © 2006 Orthopaedic Research Society. Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Orthop Res 25:241–251, 2007

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