Kinetic study of early regenerative effects of RGTA11, a heparan sulfate mimetic, in rat craniotomy defects

Calcif Tissue Int. 2004 Dec;75(6):517-25. doi: 10.1007/s00223-004-0012-5. Epub 2004 Aug 24.


We previously reported that RGTA, a synthetic heparan sulfate mimetic, induces almost complete closure of craniotomy defects one month after surgery in adult rats. RGTA-treated wounds showed features suggesting unusual cell and matrix interactions reminiscent of developmental events. As healing success or failure is determined shortly after wounding, we examined early events in RGTA-treated wounds. Collagen plasters soaked in a solution of RGTA11 (1.5 Microg per piece) or saline (control) were implanted in rat craniotomy defects. Seven control and seven treated rats were killed daily from days 1 to 7 after surgery. The lesions and adjacent tissues were sampled and processed for morphometry. A layer of type III collagen along the dura mater (DM) thickened up to day 5 in RGTA-treated wounds (p < 0.05 vs day 1), but became thinner in control wounds. Alkaline phosphatase-positive osteoprogenitor cells were detected on day 1 in this layer. Their number increased, and they migrated toward the mid-sagittal sinus and to connective tissue adjacent to the sinus, where they aggregated and differentiated into osteoblasts, forming bone nodules on day 6. These features were not seen in control wounds. Angiogenesis was significantly enhanced in RGTA-treated wounds, especially near the sinus. In vitro, bovine bone endothelial (BBE) cell proliferation was inhibited by RGTA11 in a concentration-dependent manner. In contrast, RGTA11 strongly enhanced the effect of fibroblast growth factor-2 on BBE cell proliferation. These results show that RGTA11, possibly by interacting with heparin-binding growth factors, elicits vascular reactions accompanying the recruitment of a large pool of committed osteoprogenitors from the DM. The DM and the sinus appear to be important centers of organization for craniotomy defect healing. RGTA probably creates an environment that starts a program of directing healing towards bone formation and defect closure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Regeneration / drug effects*
  • Cattle
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Collagen / analysis
  • Craniotomy*
  • Dextrans / therapeutic use*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / cytology
  • Endothelium, Vascular / drug effects
  • Kinetics
  • Male
  • Neovascularization, Physiologic / drug effects
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Skull / chemistry
  • Skull / cytology
  • Skull / physiology*
  • Time Factors
  • Wound Healing / drug effects*


  • Dextrans
  • RGTA11
  • Collagen