Implantation of demineralized bone induces new bone formation by the action of contained growth factors, of which bone morphogenetic proteins are of prime importance. A biodegradable polymer may be used as a carrier for demineralized bone particles or recombinant bone growth factors to prevent displacement of the implant, preserve its volume and shape, and assure sustained release of the incorporated active components. A polymer for this use should be biocompatible and completely absorbed without interfering with the osteogenesis. We investigated the host-tissue response and effect on demineralized bone-induced bone formation by two biodegradable polymers, a poly(ortho ester) and an amorphous low-molecular poly(DL-lactic acid). Both polymers had a plastic consistency, could easily be molded, and adhered well to the demineralized bone particles. Demineralized bone particles were implanted alone and in combination with each of the polymers in the abdominal muscles of 45 male Wistar rats. Four weeks after the operation the implants were recovered and subjected to (85)Sr uptake analysis to quantify bone formation and histologic examination. The poly(ortho ester) provoked little inflammation; it was largely absorbed by 4 weeks, and no qualitative or quantitative effect on bone formation was found. The poly(DL-lactic acid) provoked a chronic inflammation with multinuclear giant cells, macrophages with engulfed material, and proliferating fibroblasts; part of the material was still present, and the bone formation was inhibited.
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