In the present study, we evaluated an autologous bone graft substitute (ABGS) composed of recombinant human BMP6 (rhBMP6) dispersed within autologous blood coagulum (ABC) used as a physiological carrier for new bone formation in spine fusion sheep models. The application of ABGS included cervical cage for use in the anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF), while for the posterolateral lumbar fusion (PLF) sheep model allograft devitalized bone particles (ALLO) were applied with and without use of instrumentation. In the ALIF model, ABGS (rhBMP6/ABC/cage) implants fused significantly when placed in between the L4-L5 vertebrae as compared to control (ABC/cage) which appears to have a fibrocartilaginous gap, as examined by histology and micro CT analysis at 16 weeks following surgery. In the PLF model, ABGS implants with or without ALLO showed a complete fusion when placed ectopically in the gutter bilaterally between two decorticated L4-L5 transverse processes at a success rate of 88% without instrumentation and at 80% with instrumentation; however the bone volume was 50% lower in the instrumentation group than without, as examined by histology, radiographs, micro CT analyses and biomechanical testing at 27 weeks following surgery. The newly formed bone was uniform within ABGS implants resulting in a biomechanically competent and histologically qualified fusion with an optimum dose in the range of 100 μg rhBMP6 per mL ABC, while in the implants that contained ALLO, the mineralized bone particles were substituted by the newly formed remodeling bone via creeping substitution. These findings demonstrate for the first time that ABGS (rhBMP6/ABC) without and with ALLO particles induced a robust bone formation with a successful fusion in sheep models of ALIF and PLF, and that autologous blood coagulum (ABC) can serve as a preferred physiological native carrier to induce new bone at low doses of rhBMP6 and to achieve a successful spinal fusion.
Keywords: Allograft (ALLO); Autologous blood coagulum (ABC) as natural BMP carrier; Compression resistant matrix (CRM); Sheep anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF); Sheep posterior lateral lumbar fusion (PLF); rhBMP6.
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