A novel biodegradable copolymer, poly(propylene fumarate-co-caprolactone) [P(PF-co-CL)], has been developed in our laboratory as an injectable scaffold for bone defect repair. In the current study, we evaluated the ability of P(PF-co-CL) to reconstitute the load-bearing capacity of vertebral bodies with lytic lesions. Forty vertebral bodies from four fresh-frozen cadaveric thoracolumbar spines were used for this study. They were randomly divided into four groups: intact vertebral body (intact control), simulated defect without treatment (negative control), defect treated with P(PF-co-CL) (copolymer group), and defect treated with poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA group). Simulated metastatic lytic defects were made by removing a central core of the trabecular bone in each vertebral body with an approximate volume of 25% through an access hole in the side of the vertebrae. Defects were then filled by injecting either P(PF-co-CL) or PMMA in situ crosslinkable formulations. After the spines were imaged with quantitative computerized tomography, single vertebral body segments were harvested for mechanical testing. Specimens were compressed until failure or to 25% reduction in body height and ultimate strength and elastic modulus of each specimen were then calculated from the force-displacement data. The average failure strength of the copolymer group was 1.83 times stronger than the untreated negative group and it closely matched the intact vertebral bodies (intact control). The PMMA-treated vertebrae, however, had a failure strength 1.64 times larger compared with the intact control. The elastic modulus followed the same trend. This modulus mismatch between PMMA-treated vertebrae and the host vertebrae could potentially induce a fracture cascade and degenerative changes in adjacent intervertebral discs. In contrast, P(PF-co-CL) restored the mechanical properties of the treated segments similar to the normal, intact, vertebrae. Therefore, P(PF-co-CL) may be a suitable alternative to PMMA for vertebroplasty treatment of vertebral bodies with lytic defects.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering