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Biomaterials. 2009 Mar;30(7):1428-39. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2008.10.065. Epub 2008 Dec 9.

The induction of bone formation by coral-derived calcium carbonate/hydroxyapatite constructs.

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  • 1Bone Research Unit, Medical Research Council at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, Medical School, 2193 Parktown, South Africa. ugo.ripamonti@wits.ac.za


The spontaneous induction of bone formation in heterotopic rectus abdominis and orthotopic calvarial sites by coral-derived biomimetic matrices of different chemical compositions was investigated in a long-term study in the non-human primate Papio ursinus. Coral-derived calcium carbonate constructs were converted to hydroxyapatite by hydrothermal exchange. Limited conversion produced hydroxyapatite/calcium carbonate (HA/CC) constructs of 5% and 13% hydroxyapatite. Rods of 20 mm in length and 7 mm in diameter were implanted in heterotopic rectus abdominis sites; discs 25 mm in diameter were implanted in orthotopic calvarial defects of six adult non-human primates P. ursinus. Heterotopic samples also included fully converted hydroxyapatite replicas sintered at 1100 degrees C. To further enhance spontaneous osteoinductive activity, fully converted hydroxyapatite replicas were coated with the synthetic peptide P15 known to increase the adhesion of fibroblasts to anorganic bovine mineral. Bone induction was assessed at 60, 90 and 365 days by histological examination, alkaline phosphatase and osteocalcin expression, as well as by the expression of BMP-7, GDF-10 and collagen type IV mRNAs. Induction of bone occurred in the concavities of the matrices at all time points. At 365 days, bone marrow was evident in the P15-coated and uncoated implants. Resorption of partially converted calcium carbonate/hydroxyapatite was apparent, as well as remodeling of the newly formed bone. Northern blot analyses of samples from heterotopic specimens showed high levels of expression of BMP-7 and collagen type IV mRNA in all specimen types at 60 days, correlating with the induction of the osteoblastic phenotype in invading fibrovascular cells. Orthotopic specimens showed prominent bone formation across the different implanted constructs. The concavities of the matrices biomimetize the remodeling cycle of the osteonic primate cortico-cancellous bone and promote the ripple-like cascade of the induction of bone formation. This study demonstrates for the first time that partially converted HA/CC constructs also induce spontaneous differentiation of bone, albeit only seen one year post-implantation.

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