Background: Although autogenous bone is the most widely used graft material for spinal fusion, demineralized bone matrix preparations are available as alternatives or supplements to autograft. They are prepared by acid extraction of most of the mineralized component, with retention of the collagen and noncollagenous proteins, including growth factors. Differences in allograft processing methods among suppliers might yield products with different osteoinductive activities. The purpose of this study was to compare the efficacy of three different commercially available demineralized bone matrix products for inducing spinal fusion in an athymic rat model.
Methods: Sixty male athymic rats underwent spinal fusion and were divided into three groups of eighteen animals each. Group I received Grafton Putty; Group II, DBX Putty; and Group III, AlloMatrix Injectable Putty. A control group of six animals (Group IV) underwent decortication alone. Six animals from each of the three experimental groups were killed at each of three intervals (two, four, and eight weeks), and the six animals from the control group were killed at eight weeks. At each of the time-points, radiographic and histologic analysis and manual testing of the explanted spines were performed.
Results: The spines in Group I demonstrated higher rates of radiographically evident fusion at eight weeks than did the spines in Group III or Group IV (p < 0.05). Manual testing of the spines at four weeks revealed variable fusion rates (five of six in Group I, two of six in Group II, and none of six in Group III). At eight weeks, all six spines in Group I, three of the six in Group II, and no spine in Group III or IV had fused. Histologic analysis of the spines in Groups I, II, and III demonstrated varying amounts of residual demineralized bone matrix and new bone formation. Group-I spines demonstrated the most new bone formation.
Conclusions: This study demonstrated differences in the osteoinductive potentials of commercially available demineralized bone matrices in this animal model.
Clinical Relevance: Comparative clinical testing of demineralized bone matrices is indicated in order to determine which preparations are best suited for promoting successful spinal fusion in humans.
1 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Center for Health Sciences 76-134, 10833 Le Conte Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90095. E-mail address for J.R. Lieberman: firstname.lastname@example.org