Study design: Prospective study on lumbar spine fusion using cloned and mixed marrow cells.
Objective: To analyze the effectiveness of cloned osteoprogenitor cells in spine fusion and their differentiation in vivo using a traceable gene.
Summary of background data: Although autografts are currently the standard for stable spine fusion, supply is limited. Alternative graft materials need to be developed and evaluated.
Methods: An osteoprogenitor cell, D1-BAG, cloned from mouse bone marrow and transduced with LacZ and neomycin resistance genes, and mixed marrow stromal cells from marrow blowouts were used in athymic rats to establish posterior spinal fusion; 2 x 10(6) cells in 100 microL Matrigel were implanted into the lumbar fusion bed in 36 animals, whereas Matrigel without cells was used in 16 animals as control. Rats were killed at 2, 3, 6, and 9 weeks, and the spines were evaluated by manual palpation, radiographs, and histology.
Results: Two weeks after surgery radiopaque tissue was seen at transplantation sites with D1-BAG cells but not at sites with mixed marrow stromal cells. Successful spine fusion at 6 and 9 weeks was observed in 8 of 8 (100%) animals receiving DI-BAG cells, 4 of 8 (50%) in mixed marrow stromal cells, and 0 of 8 (0%) in control animals.
Conclusions: Compared with mixed marrow stromal cells, cloned osteoprogenitor cells can produce a larger amount of mature osseous tissue at an earlier time point during spine fusion.