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Biomaterials. 2000 Apr;21(8):757-64.

Bioresorbable bone graft substitutes of different osteoconductivities: a histologic evaluation of osteointegration of poly(propylene glycol-co-fumaric acid)-based cement implants in rats.

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Orthopaedic Research Laboratories, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston 02114, USA.


Bioresorbable bone graft substitutes may significantly reduce the disadvantages associated with autografts, allografts and other synthetic materials currently used in bone graft procedures. We investigated the biocompatibility and osteointegration of a bioresorbable bone graft substitute made from the unsaturated polyester poly(propylene-glycol-co-fumaric acid), or simply poly(propylene fumarate), PPF, which is crosslinked in the presence of soluble and insoluble calcium filler salts. Four sets of animals each having three groups of 8 were evaluated by grouting bone graft substitutes of varying compositions into 3-mm holes that were made into the anteromedial tibial metaphysis of rats. Four different formulations varying as to the type of soluble salt filler employed were used: set 1--calcium acetate, set 2--calcium gluconate, set 3--calcium propionate, and set 4--control with hydroxapatite, HA, only. Animals of each of the three sets were sacrificed in groups of 8 at postoperative week 1, 3, and 7. Histologic analysis revealed that in vivo biocompatibility and osteointegration of bone graft substitutes was optimal when calcium acetate was employed as a soluble salt filler. Other formulations demonstrated implant surface erosion and disintegration which was ultimately accompanied by an inflammatory response. This study suggested that PPF-based bone graft substitutes can be designed to provide an osteoconductive pathway by which bone will grow in faster because of its capacity to develop controlled porosities in vivo. Immediate applicability of this bone graft substitute, the porosity of which can be tailored for the reconstruction of defects of varying size and quality of the recipient bed, is to defects caused by surgical debridement of infections, previous surgery, tumor removal, trauma, implant revisions and joint fusion. Clinical implications of the relation between developing porosity, resulting osteoconduction, and bone repair in vivo are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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