Assessment of cell proliferation in regenerating bone during distraction osteogenesis at different distraction rates

G Li, A H Simpson, J Kenwright, J T Triffitt

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An experimental model of lengthening of the lower limb was used to study the morphology and cellular proliferation of regenerating bone tissue after 20% lengthening at four rates of distraction. Groups of rabbits were killed at different times 1-8 weeks after surgery. The regenerated area was divided into three zones: fibrous, primary mineralization front, and new bone. As the rate of distraction increased, the size of the fibrous zone increased and that of the new bone zone decreased. Necrosis, formation of cysts, and cartilage were found in the regenerated area at the higher distraction rates. Cell proliferation was assessed by in vivo labelling with bromodeoxyuridine, and the positive staining index for anti-bromodeoxyuridine antibody was calculated in the zones of the regenerated tissue. The index values for the fibrous zones and the new bone zones did not differ significantly in any of the groups. The value increased significantly (p < 0.05) in the primary mineralization front as the rate of distraction increased from 0.3 to 0.7 mm/day, but there was no further significant increase at higher distraction rates. In conclusion, cell proliferation was increased at all of the higher rates (more than 0.3 mm/day) of distraction studied. Higher rates of distraction caused tissue damage. A distraction rate of 0.7 mm/day appeared optimal for cell proliferation and histological characteristics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)765-72
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Orthopaedic Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1997


  • Animals
  • Bone Regeneration
  • Bone Remodeling
  • Bony Callus
  • Bromodeoxyuridine
  • Cell Division
  • DNA
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Osteogenesis, Distraction
  • Periosteum
  • Rabbits
  • Tibia


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