Comparative study of membranes induced by PMMA or silicone in rats, and influence of external radiotherapy

Acta Biomater. 2015 Jun:19:119-27. doi: 10.1016/j.actbio.2015.03.005. Epub 2015 Mar 11.


The induced membrane technique has been used for long bone defect reconstruction after traumatism. One of the major drawbacks of this method is the difficult removal of the polymethyl methacrylate spacer after membrane formation. We therefore replaced the stiff PMMA spacer with a semi-flexible medical grade silicone spacer. This study aimed to compare subcutaneously formed membranes, induced by PMMA and silicone, in the irradiated or not irradiated areas within 28 rats that received the spacers. Histological analysis was performed to evaluate the composition of the membrane and to quantify the amount of vessels. Histomorphometric measurements were used to evaluate membranes' thickness, while fibrosis and inflammation were scored. The expression of VEGF and BMP-2 in lysates of the crushed membranes was determined by Western blotting. ALP expression was analyzed in HBMSC cultures in contact with the same lysates. Non-irradiated membranes induced by the two spacer types were non-inflammatory, fibrous and organized in layers. Irradiation did not change the macroscopic properties of membranes that were induced by silicone, while PMMA induced membranes were sensitive to the radiotherapy, resulting in thicker, strongly inflammatory membranes. Irradiated membranes showed an overall reduced osteogenic potential. Medical grade silicone is safe for the use in radiotherapy and might therefore be of great advantage for patients in need of cancer treatment.

Keywords: Induced membrane; Irradiation effect; PMMA; Silicone.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Substitutes / chemistry*
  • Bone Substitutes / radiation effects
  • Female
  • Materials Testing
  • Polymethyl Methacrylate / chemistry*
  • Polymethyl Methacrylate / radiation effects
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Radiotherapy, Conformal*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Silicon / chemistry*
  • Silicon / radiation effects
  • Synovial Membrane / cytology
  • Synovial Membrane / growth & development*
  • Synovial Membrane / radiation effects


  • Bone Substitutes
  • Polymethyl Methacrylate
  • Silicon