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Growth Factors. 2001;19: 247-257.

Growth factor therapy for exp. necrosis of the femoral head.

By: Simank H-G, Manggold J, Sebald W, Ries Rainer, Richter W, Ewerbeck V, Consolato S.


Osteotropic growth factors enhance bone repair, but their efficacy in an area of necrotic bone is not known.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects and potential side effects of an intraosseous application of absorbable Bone Morphogenetic Protein-2 (BMP-2) and Growth and Differentiation Factor-5 (GDF-5) composites in a sheep model for partial necrosis of the femoral head.

Material and Methods:

The direct injection of ethanol under fluoroscopy into the superior centre of the right femoral head produced histologically documented necrosis of the central region of the head in ten sheep.
Another 27 sheep constituted the sample to study the effects of BMP-2 and GDF-5. Necrosis was produced in the same fashion. Four weeks later nine sheep received 300 µg recombinant BMP-2 and nine sheep (control group) the carrier alone. The animals were sacrificed at three, six and twelve weeks after implantation.


Bone density analysis and microscopic examination indicated that bone formation was induced as early as 3 weeks postoperatively in the growth factor composites, documented by histological scoring and histomorphometric analysis. No severe local side effects were observed.


The application of an absorbable growth factor composite in combination with established surgical techniques is a promising approach that may enhance the healing of devitalised bone defects.

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