A radiographical and biomechanical study of demineralized bone matrix implanted into a bone defect of rat femurs with and without bone marrow.

Published online: Jun 27 1991

M Gebhart, and J Lane.

Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Jules Bordet Institute, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium.


Repair of large bone defects represents a challenge to orthopedic surgery since autogenous graft is not available in large amounts. Demineralized bone matrix (DBM) which contains bone morphogenic protein, a potent osteoinductive glycoprotein, and collagen, an osteoconductive matrix, may be an effective substitute for these graft materials. Bone marrow which contains osteoprogenitor cells could potentiate the osteoinductive and osteoconductive properties of demineralized bone matrix. This study tested the ability of demineralized bone matrix with and without bone marrow to bridge large segmental defects, and evaluated the results both radiographically and biomechanically as compared to autogenous (isogeneic) cancellous bone graft. Demineralized bone-matrix segments implanted into a plated femoral segmental defect in rats resulted in firm union in most animals. Bone marrow significantly enhanced bone formation of demineralized bone-matrix implants at an early stage but with time, differences between bone marrow-augmented and bone marrow-deprived demineralized bone implants were no longer demonstrable radiographically and biomechanically. Newly formed bone had about 50% of the strength of the contralateral control bones. Femurs implanted with cancellous bone isografts had similar evidence of absolute union rate, radiographic and mechanical properties as DBM-implanted femurs.