Background: Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) induces angiogenesis and osteogenesis in bone allotransplants. We aim to determine whether bone remodeling in VEGF-treated bone allotransplants results from repopulation with circulation-derived autogenous cells or survival of allogenic transplant-derived cells. Methods: Vascularized femoral bone transplants were transplanted from female Dark Agouti rats (DA;RT1a) to male Piebald Viral Glaxo (PVG;RT1c). Arteriovenous bundle implantation and short-term immunosuppression were used to maintain cellular viability. VEGF was encapsulated in biodegradable microspheres and delivered intramedullary in the experimental group (n522). In the control group (n522), no VEGF was delivered. Rats were sacrificed at 4 or 18 weeks. Laser capture microdissection of bone remodeling areas was performed at the inner and outer cortex. Sex-mismatched genes were quantified with reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction to determine the amount of male cells to total cells, defined as the relative expression ratio (rER). Results: At 4 weeks, rER was significantly higher at the inner cortex in VEGF-treated transplants as compared to untreated transplants (0.62260.225 vs. 0.36260.081, P50.043). At 4 weeks, the outer cortex in the control group had a significantly higher rER (P50.038), whereas in the VEGF group, the inner cortex had a higher rER (P50.015). Over time, in the outer cortex the rER significantly increased to 0.63460.106 at 18 weeks in VEGF-treated rats (P50.049). At 18 weeks, the rER was >0.5 at all cortical areas in both groups. Conclusions: These in vivo findings suggest a chemotactic effect of intramedullary applied VEGF on recipient-derived bone and could imply that more rapid angiogenesis of vascularized allotransplants can be established with microencapsulated VEGF.
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