Objective: To determine whether locally applied tobramycin influences the ability of recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein 2 (rhBMP-2) to heal a segmental defect in the rat femur. Methods: The influence of tobramycin on the osteogenic differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells was first evaluated in vitro. For the subsequent, in vivo experiments, a 5-mm segmental defect was created in the right femur of each of 25 Sprague-Dawley rats and stabilized with an external fixator and four Kirschner wires. Rats were divided in four groups: empty control, tobramycin (11 mg)/absorbable collagen sponge, rhBMP-2 (11 μg)/absorbable collagen sponge, and rhBMP-2/absorbable collagen sponge with tobramycin. Bone healing was monitored by radiography at 3 and 8 weeks. Animals were euthanized at 8 weeks and the properties of the defect were compared with the intact contralateral femur. Bone formation in the defect region was assessed by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry, microcomputed tomography, histology, and mechanical testing. Results: Tobramycin exerted a dose-dependent inhibition of alkaline phosphatase induction and calcium deposition by mesenchymal stem cells cultured under osteogenic conditions. The inhibition was reversed in the presence of 500 ng/mL of rhBMP-2. Segmental defects in the rat femora failed to heal in the absence of rhBMP-2. Tobramycin exerted no inhibitory effects on the ability of rhBMP-2 to heal these defects and increased the bone area of the defects treated with rhBMP-2. Data obtained from all other parameters of healing, including dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry, microcomputed tomography, histology, and mechanical testing, were unaffected by tobramycin. Conclusions: Although our in vitro results suggested that tobramycin inhibits the osteogenic differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells, this could be overcome by rhBMP-2. Tobramycin did not impair the ability of rhBMP-2 to heal critical-sized femoral defects in rats. Indeed, bone area was increased by nearly 20% in the rhBMP-2 group treated with tobramycin. This study shows that locally applied tobramycin can be used in conjunction with rhBMP-2 to enhance bone formation at fracture sites.
- Rat model
- Segmental defect
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine