Mesenchymal stem cells (MSC), easily culture-expanded from bone marrow, can significantly enhance bone defect healing. Several proteins, such as the bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) and in particular BMP-7, are involved in bone formation in vitro and in vivo. In this preclinical study, we evaluated if the association of human MSC (hMSC) with BMP-7 had synergic action on bone healing. Rat femoral defects (n=12) were treated with: autoclaved bone and mononucleated cells (MNC) as control group G1; bone and hMSC, group G2; bone with BMP-7, group G3; bone and hMSC plus BMP-7, group G4. Defect regeneration was evaluated with plain radiographs after 2, 4, 8 and 12 weeks and with histological analysis. We observed organized trabeculae bridging between the osteotomic ends of the host bone in rats treated with the association of hMSC and rhBMP-7. These trabeculae, formed by a core of devitalized tissue surrounded by osteoblasts, osteocytes and osteoclasts, were continuous with a cortical-like structure of bony tissue. Such new bone formation of the group treated with the association of hMSC and rhBMP-7 (G4) was clearly superior compared to rats treated with rhBMP-7 (G2) or hMSC (G3) alone, as shown by radiographic analysis and histological study. The present study suggests that the association of hMSC and BMP-7 is more effective than hMSC or BMP-7 alone in the healing of femoral defects in rats. Further studies with larger samples are required to confirm these results and to evaluate the best dosage.
- Bone defect
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