The treatment of critical-size bone defects following complicated fractures, infections or tumor resections is a major challenge. The same applies to fractures in patients with impaired bone healing due to systemic inflammatory and metabolic diseases. Despite considerable progress in development and establishment of new surgical techniques, design of bone graft substitutes and imaging techniques, these scenarios still represent unresolved clinical problems. However, the development of new active substances offers novel potential solutions for these issues. This work discusses therapeutic approaches that influence angiogenesis or hypoxic situations in healing bone and surrounding tissue. In particular, literature on sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor modulators and nitric oxide (NO•) donors, including bi-functional (hybrid) compounds like NO•-releasing cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors, was critically reviewed with regard to their local and systemic mode of action.
Keywords: Critical-size bone defects; neovascularization; nitric oxide donors; signaling; small molecules; sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor.