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J Biomed Mater Res A. 2003 Jun 15;65(4):468-74.

Long-term implantation of zinc-releasing calcium phosphate ceramics in rabbit femora.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Institute of Clinical Medicine, The University of Tsukuba, 2-1-1 Tennodai, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-0006, Japan.


Zinc is an essential trace element that has stimulatory effects on bone formation. Recently, we developed zinc-releasing calcium phosphate ceramics in order to add the pharmacologic effect of zinc to calcium phosphate ceramics. In our previous study, we showed that the optimum zinc content for promoting bone formation was 0.316 wt %. Therefore a zinc composite ceramic of zinc-containing beta-tricalcium phosphate and hydroxyapatite, with a zinc content of 0.316 wt %, was chosen for long-term implantation. Cylindrical rods of the zinc composite ceramic were implanted in rabbit femora for 2 to 60 weeks. Using computer-aided image analysis, a histomorphometric study was carried out to investigate bone formation and resorption around the implants. The control was a composite ceramic of beta-tricalcium phosphate and hydroxyapatite without zinc. The addition of zinc to the implant demonstrated both favorable and unfavorable effects on bone remodeling. The favorable effect was enhanced bone apposition to the implant surface, demonstrated by a significant increase in intramedullary bone apposition rate at 6 weeks and in cortical bone apposition rate at 24 and 60 weeks (p < 0.05). The unfavorable effect was increased bone resorption, demonstrated by a significant increase in medullary cavity area at 60 weeks (p < 0.05). In order to utilize the favorable effect and avoid the unfavorable effect of zinc, either a reduction in zinc content in the zinc composite ceramic or the selection of implantation sites that do not have excessive exposure to bone marrow are required.

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