Objective— To compare the osteogenic potential of cancellous bone of conventional graft sites with that of one nonconventional site (fourth coccygeal vertebra) and to investigate the tibial periosteum as a donor site with respect to osteogenic potential.

Study Design— In vitro osteogenic cell culture system.

Sample Population— Eight adult horses.

Methods— Cancellous bone or tibial periosteum was aseptically collected and cut into bone chips or periosteal strips of 1 to 2 mm3 for primary explant cultures. After 2 weeks, primary tissue cultures that yielded a population of osteogenic cells were counted and subcultured at 1 × 105 cells/35-mm dish in osteogenic media. After 7 to 10 days, subcultures were stained with Von Kossa (VK) to assess mineralized bone nodule formation. VK-positive bone nodules were counted as osteoprogenitors and compared among 3 donor sites, which provided consistent primary osteogenic cells (tuber coxae, fourth coccygeal vertebra, periosteum) using ANOVA (P < .05).

Results— Sternal and tibial bone yielded viable osteogenic cells from 25% and 50% of horses, respectively, whereas yields from tuber coxae, coccygeal vertebra, and periosteum were 75%, 100%, and 100%, respectively. Tuber coxae and periosteum had significantly greater numbers of osteoprogenitors compared with fourth coccygeal vertebra.

Conclusions— Among the conventional donor sites, tuber coxae most consistently yielded viable osteogenic cells with an acceptable percentage of osteoprogenitors. Sternal and tibial sites were unreliable in providing osteogenic cells. Two new donor sites, the fourth coccygeal vertebra and tibial periosteum, were tissues with good osteogenic potential.

Clinical Relevance— When a source of transplantable viable osteoprogenitor cells is desired, use of the tuber coxae as a conventional donor site is warranted. Use of tibial periosteum or fourth coccygeal vertebra as reliable sources of transplantable osteoprogenitors should be considered.