Experimental posterolateral spinal fusion with porous ceramics and mesenchymal stem cells

G. Cinotti, A. M. Patti, A. Vulcano, C. Della Rocca, G. Polveroni, G. Giannicola, F. Postacchini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Alternatives to autogenous bone graft for spinal fusion have been investigated for many years. It has been shown that osteoconductive materials alone do not give a rate of fusion which is comparable to that of autogenous bone graft. We analysed the effectiveness of porous ceramic loaded with cultured mesenchymal stem cells as a new graft material for spinal fusion in an animal model. Posterolateral fusion was carried out at the L4/L5 level in 40 White New Zealand rabbits using one of the following graft materials: porous ceramic granules plus cultured mesenchymal stem cells (group I); ceramic granules plus fresh autogenous bone marrow (group II); ceramic granules alone (group III); and autogenous bone graft (group IV). The animals were killed eight weeks after surgery and the spines were evaluated radiographically, by a manual palpation test and by histological analysis. The rate of fusion was significantly higher in group I compared with group III and higher, but not significantly, in group I compared with groups II and IV. In group I histological analysis showed newly formed bone in contact with the implanted granules and highly cellular bone marrow between the newly formed trabecular bone. In group II, thin trabeculae of newly formed bone were present in the peripheral portion of the fusion mass. In group III, there was a reduced amount of newly formed bone and abundant fibrous tissue. In group IV, there were thin trabeculae of newly formed bone close to the decorticated transverse processes and dead trabecular bone in the central portion of the fusion mass. In vitro cultured mesenchymal stem cells may be loaded into porous ceramic to make a graft material for spinal fusion which appears to be more effective than porous ceramic alone. Further studies are needed to investigate the medium- to long-term results of this procedure, its feasibility in the clinical setting and the most appropriate carrier for mesenchymal stem cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-142
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Bone and Joint Surgery - Series B
Volume86
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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