Objective: The aim of this study was to develop a feasible approach to promote bone healing in osteoporotic rats using autogenous bone tissue-engineering and gene transfection of human bone morphogenetic protein 2 (hBMP-2).
Methods: Bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs) from the left tibia of osteoporotic rats were transfected with the hBMP-2 gene in vitro which was confirmed by immunohistochemistry, in situ hybridization and Western blotting. Autogenous transfected or untransfected BMSCs were seeded on macroporous coral hydroxyapatite (CHA) scaffolds. Each cell-scaffold construct was implanted into a defect site which was created in the ramus of the mandible of osteoporotic rats. Four or eight weeks after implantation in situ hybridization was performed in BMSCs transfected with hBMP-2, X-ray examinations, histological and histomorphological analyses were used to evaluate the effect of tissue-engineered bone on osseous defect repair.
Results: Newly formed bone was observed at the margin of the defect 4 weeks after implantation with BMSCs transfected with BMP-2. Mature bone was observed 8 weeks after treatment. In the control group there was considerably less new bone and some adipose tissue was observed at the defect margins 8 weeks after implantation.
Conclusions: Autogenous cells transfected with hBMP-2 promote bone formation in osteoporotic rats. BMSC-mediated BMP-2 gene therapy used in conjunction with bone tissue engineering may be used to successfully treat bone defects in osteoporotic rats. This method provides a powerful tool for bone regeneration and other tissue engineering.