Use of porous hydroxyapatite graft containing recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein-2 for cervical fusion in a caprine model

Toshiyuki Takahashi, Teiji Tominaga, Noriaki Watabe, A. Toshimitu Yokobori, Hiroshi Sasada, Takashi Yoshimoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


Object. The efficacy of recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein-2 (rhBMP-2) for enhancing anterior cervical spine interbody fusion when added to a porous hydroxyapatite (HA) graft was investigated. Methods. Fourteen mature goats underwent three-level anterior discectomies after induction of endotracheal anesthesia. Porous HA grafts that contained 0, 5, and 50 μg of rhBMP-2 were placed concurrently with anterior cervical spine plates to achieve interbody fusion. The fusion rate, radiological findings, biomechanical stiffness, and histological appearance were evaluated in 42 spinal units immediately and again at 4 and 12 weeks after graft and plate placement. At 12 weeks postsurgery, manual testing showed a 100% fusion rate in the spines with HA grafts containing high-dose rhBMP-2; however, only a 50% fusion rate was shown in spines with grafts that contained no or low- dose rhBMP-2. On radiographic and histological studies the process of solid fusion was seen to be more advanced in relation to the use of larger amounts of rhBMP-2. Biomechanical testing demonstrated significantly higher stiffness values for grafts that contained high-dose rhBMP-2 than those without rhBMP- 2 in flexion at 4 weeks, as well as in flexion, extension, and lateral bending tests at 12 weeks. Histological analysis demonstrated that rhBMP-2 increased the amount of bone apposition on the surface of the implants and promoted bone formation in the porous structure without increasing the penetration distance. Conclusions. Through osteogenesis at the fusion site, the addition of rhBMP-2 to a porous HA ceramic graft enhances the rate of anterior cervical fusion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)224-230
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of neurosurgery
Issue number4 SUPPL.
Publication statusPublished - 1999 Apr


  • Anterior cervical fusion
  • Bone morphogenetic protein
  • Cervical spine
  • Hydroxyapatite

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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