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Clin Orthop Relat Res. 1993 Sep;(294):325-32.

Delayed implantation of demineralized bone powder after local irradiation in rats.

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  • 1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of California, San Francisco 94143-0728.


Previous studies have shown that osteoinduction is inhibited when demineralized bone powder (DBP) is implanted within 48 hours of local irradiation (i.e., when the acute effects of radiation injury are present). This study sought to determine whether normal osteoinduction can proceed if the implantation of DBP is delayed until 21 days postirradiation. At 21 days, the acute effects of radiation injury are likely to have subsided, but the long-term effects have not yet appeared. Twenty-eight-day-old rats were administered a radiation dose of either 7 or 20 Gy over a localized area of one thigh. The contralateral, nonirradiated thigh served as a control. Demineralized bone powder was subcutaneously implanted 21 days later. Subcutaneous pellets were retrieved at various intervals thereafter (up to Day 45) and were histologically graded for evidence of osteoinduction. No difference in osteoinduction was detected at any time interval in pellets from the 7-Gy-treated sites, compared with controls. Pellets from the 20-Gy-treated sites, however, demonstrated significantly a lower osteoinductive response at each interval. These latter pellets showed small scattered areas of osteoinduction and reduced formation of marrow elements. Thus, although osteoinduction proceeds normally when the implantation of DBP is delayed for 21 days after irradiation with 7 Gy, this is not the case when 20 Gy are administered. Given the absence of gross impairment of tissue vascularity in irradiated sites, it is possible that inhibition of osteoinduction after higher doses of radiation results from permanent damage to mesenchymal precursor cells.

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