• Osteoinduction;
  • gene therapy;
  • tissue engineering


Objective Facial osseous defects remain a major functional and esthetic challenge for the head and neck surgeon. Tissue engineering may provide advantageous alternatives to conventional therapies. The objective of the study was to evaluate the efficacy of gene therapy in the repair of osseous facial defects.

Study Design Blinded, controlled, prospective animal experiment.

Methods Thirty adult athymic nude rats were divided into five groups of six animals. Three groups were used as control subjects. Two groups were treated with 3.75 × 108 viral particles containing recombinant type 5 adenoviral vectors. One group received viruses that coded for β-galactosidase production, another received viruses that coded for bone morphogenetic protein (BMP-2) production. After 120 days rats were examined at necropsy with precise planimetry, histological analysis of new bone growth, and radio-densitometric analysis of bone thickness.

Results Radio-densitometric measurements showed that BMP-2–treated nude athymic rats had significantly enhanced osseous repair compared with control subjects when evaluated by both radio-densitometry and histological examination.

Conclusion Gene therapy–treated, immunosuppressed rodents had an enhanced osteoinductive repair of a dorsal osseous nasal defect.