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J Biomed Mater Res A. 2008 Jul;86(1):182-94.

Development and characterization of a rabbit alveolar bone nonhealing defect model.

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Department of Bioengineering, Rice University, Houston, Texas 77251-1892, USA.


The aim of this study was to develop an easily accessible and reproducible, nonhealing alveolar bone defect in the rabbit mandible. Twenty-four adult male New Zealand white rabbits underwent unilateral mandibular defect surgery. Two types of defect in the premolar/molar region were compared: (1) a 10-mm "full thickness" cylindrical defect removing both cortical plates and the intervening trabecular bone and tooth roots; (2) a 10-mm "partial thickness" cylindrical defect removing only the lateral bony cortex, trabecular bone, and tooth roots. Both types of defect were examined at 0, 8, and 16 weeks using histology and/or microcomputed tomography to determine the quality and quantity of bone formation. The partial thickness defect displayed significant bone fill at 8 weeks (86.9% +/- 10.8%), and complete regeneration of bony contours and bridging by 16 weeks. In contrast, the full thickness defect was never able to bridge itself and displayed no significant difference in bone regeneration between the 8-week (61.5% +/- 3.7%) and 16-week (55.1% +/- 18.5%) time points. These results indicate that a nonhealing defect can be created with a 10-mm bicortical cylindrical ostectomy placed in the premolar/molar region of the rabbit mandible, demonstrating the potential of this animal model as a test bed for mandibular biomaterials and tissue-engineering constructs.

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