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J Biomed Mater Res. 2002 May;60(2):241-51.

Bone formation in transforming growth factor beta-1-coated porous poly(propylene fumarate) scaffolds.

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Department of Biomaterials, College of Dental Science, University Medical Center Nijmegen, P.O. Box 9101, 6500 HB Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


This study determined the bone growth into pretreated poly(propylene fumarate) (PPF) scaffolds implanted into a subcritical size, rabbit cranial defect. PPF scaffolds were constructed by using a photocrosslinking-porogen leaching technique. These scaffolds were then either prewetted (PPF-Pw), treated with RF glow-discharge (PPF-Gd), coated with fibronectin (PPF-Fn), or coated with rhTGF-beta1 (PPF-TGF-beta1). One of each scaffold type was then placed into the cranium of nine rabbits. The rabbits were sacrificed after 8 weeks, and the scaffolds were retrieved for histological analysis. The most bone formation was present in the PPF-TGF-beta1 implants; the newly formed bone had a trabecular appearance together with bone marrow-like tissue. Little or no bone formation was observed in implants without rhTGF-beta1. These histological findings were confirmed by image analysis. Bone surface area, bone area percentage, pore fill percentage, and pore area percentage were significantly higher in the rhTGF-beta1-coated implants than in the noncoated implants. No statistical difference was seen between the PPF-Fn, PPF-Pw, or PPF-Gd scaffolds for these parameters. Quadruple fluorochrome labeling showed that in PPF-TGF-beta1 implants bone formation mainly started in the interior of a pore and proceeded toward the scaffold. We conclude that (a) PPF-TGF-beta1 scaffolds can indeed adequately induce bone formation in porous PPF, and (b) PPF scaffolds prepared by the photocrosslinking-porogen leaching technique are good candidates for the creation of bone graft substitutes.

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