Bone grafts and bone morphogenetic proteins in spine fusion

Munish C. Gupta, Sukanta Maitra

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Spinal fusions are being performed for various pathologies of the spine. Stabilizing vertebral segments by eliminating motion across those segments becomes critical in dealing with pathologies of the spine that lead to instability. The use of autograft has been the gold standard for spine fusion. However, due to complications such as donor site morbidity, increased operating time, and limited supply, the use of allograft as a graft extender has become an acceptable practice especially in fusions spanning multiple segments. The discovery and isolation of novel proteins (i.e., bone morphogenetic proteins, BMPs), which initiate the molecular cascade of bone formation, have experimentally been shown in numerous animal studies to be as effective as autografts. Although the use of BMPs has exciting applications in spine surgery, long-term clinical studies must be evaluated for its efficacy in various applications in humans. The use of biomimetic materials such as hydroxyapatite (HA), or tricalcium phosphate (TCP) has also been examined in several animal models as bone graft substitutes or carriers. Although these materials have shown some promise in specific site applications, more work remains in elucidating an efficacious combination of these materials and BMPs that can be as effective as autografts. This review will present the status of bone grafts, bone morphogenetic proteins, gene therapy, and work that has been done to facilitate spinal fusion and simultaneously eliminate the need for bone graft.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-267
Number of pages13
JournalCell and Tissue Banking
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2002


  • BMPs
  • Bone grafts
  • GDF-5
  • Hydroxyapatite
  • Spine fusion
  • Tricalcium phosphate


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