Rodent models in bone-related research: the relevance of calvarial defects in the assessment of bone regeneration strategies

Lab Anim. 2011 Jan;45(1):14-24. doi: 10.1258/la.2010.010085. Epub 2010 Dec 14.


In vivo research with animal models has been a preferred experimental system in bone-related biomedical research since, by approximation, it allows relevant data gathering regarding physiological and pathological conditions that could be of use to establish more effective clinical interventions. Animal models, and more specifically rodent models, have been extensively used and have contributed greatly to the development and establishment of a wide range of translational approaches aiming to regenerate the bone tissue. In this regard, the calvarial defect model has found great application in basic and applied research, nonetheless the controversial rationalization for the use of critical size defects - defects that are unable to report spontaneous healing - or subcritical size defects in the proposed applications. Accordingly, this work aims to review the advantages and limitations of the use of rodent models in biomedical bone-related research, emphasizing the problematic issues of the use of calvarial critical and subcritical size defects. Additionally, surgical protocols for the establishment of both defects in rat calvarial bone, as well as the description and exemplification of the most frequently used techniques to access the bone tissue repair, are portrayed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Regeneration
  • Mice*
  • Models, Animal*
  • Orthopedic Procedures / methods*
  • Rats*
  • Skull / pathology
  • Skull / surgery*
  • Wound Healing