Bone morphogenetic protein-2 (BMP-2) is a known key mediator of physiological bone regeneration and is clinically approved for selected musculoskeletal interventions. Yet, broad usage of this growth factor is impeded due to side effects that are majorly evoked by high dosages and burst release kinetics. In this study, mesoporous bioactive glass microspheres (MBGs), produced by an aerosol-assisted spray-drying scalable process, were loaded with BMP-2 resulting in prolonged, low-dose BMP-2 release without affecting the material characteristics. In vitro, MBGs were found to be cytocompatible and to induce a pro-osteogenic response in primary human mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs). In a pre-clinical rodent model, BMP-2 loaded MBGs significantly enhanced bone formation and influenced the microarchitecture of newly formed bone. The MBG carriers alone performed equal to the untreated (empty) control in most parameters tested, while additionally exerting mild pro-angiogenic effects. Using MBGs as a biocompatible, pro-regenerative carrier for local and sustained low dose BMP-2 release could limit side effects, thus enabling a safer usage of BMP-2 as a potent pro-osteogenic growth factor.
Keywords: BMP-2; autologous blood clot; fracture healing; local drug release; mesoporous bioactive glass.