Effect of biomaterial properties on bone healing in a rabbit tooth extraction socket model

John P. Fisher, Zahid Lalani, Carla M. Bossano, Eric M. Brey, Nagi Demian, Carol M. Johnston, David Dean, John A. Jansen, Mark E K Wong, Antonios G. Mikos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


In this work we sought to understand the effect of biomaterial properties upon healing bone tissue. We hypothesized that a hydrophilic polymer gel implanted into a bone tissue defect would impede the healing process owing to the biomaterial's prevention of protein adsorption and thus cell adhesion. To test this hypothesis, healing bone was investigated within a rabbit incisor extraction socket, a subcritical size bone defect that resists significant soft tissue invasion by virtue of its conformity. After removal of the incisor teeth, one tooth socket was left as an empty control, one was filled with crosslinked polymer networks formed from the hydrophobic polymer poly(propylene fumarate) (PPF), and one was filled with a hydrogel formed from the hydrophilic oligomer oligo(poly(ethylene glycol) fumarate) (OPF). At five different times (4 days as well as 1, 2, 4, and 8 weeks), jaw bone specimens containing the tooth sockets were removed. We analyzed bone healing by histomorphometrical analysis of hematoxylin and eosin stained sections as well as immunohistochemically stained sections. The proposed hypothesis, that a hydrophilic material would hinder bone healing, was supported by the histomorphometrical results. In addition, the immunohistochemical results reflect molecular signaling indicative of the early invasion of platelets, the vascularization of wound-healing tissue, the differentiation of migrating progenitor cells, and the formation and remodeling of bone tissue. Finally, the results emphasize the need to consider biomaterial properties and their differing effects upon endogenous growth factors, and thus bone healing, during the development of tissue engineering devices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)428-438
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research - Part A
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2004


  • Bone formation
  • Bone healing
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Tissue engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biomaterials


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