Osteocalcin enhances bone remodeling around hydroxyapatite/collagen composites



The effect of osteocalcin (OC), an extracellular bone matrix protein, on bone healing around hydroxyapatite/collagen composites was investigated. Cylindrical nanocrystalline hydroxyapatite implants of 2.5-mm diameter containing 2.5% biomimetically mineralized collagen type I were inserted press-fit into the tibial head of adult Wistar rats. To one implant group, 10 μg/g OC was added. Six specimens per group were analyzed at 2, 7, 14, 28, and 56 days. After 14 days, newly formed woven bone had reached the implant surface of the OC implants whereas a broad fibrous interface could still be observed around controls. Woven bone was formed directly around both implant groups after 28 days and had been replaced partially by lamellar bone around the OC implants only. No significant differences in total bone contact were seen between both groups after 56 days. The higher number of phagocytosing cells and osteoclasts characterized immunohistochemically with ED1, cathepsin D, and tartate-resistant alkaline phosphatase around the OC implants at the early stages of bone healing suggests an earlier onset of bone remodeling. The earlier and increased expression of bone-specific matrix proteins and multifunctional adhesion proteins (osteopontin, bone sialoprotein, CD44) at the interface around the OC implants indicates that OC may accelerate bone formation and regeneration. This study supports the observations from in vitro studies that OC activates both osteoclasts and osteoblasts during early bone formation. © 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res 73A: 284–294, 2005