Effect of bone morphogenetic protein 2 on tendon-to-bone healing in a canine flexor tendon model

Stavros Thomopoulos, H. Mike Kim, Matthew J. Silva, Eleni Ntouvali, Cionne N. Manning, Ryan Potter, Howard Seeherman, Richard H. Gelberman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Tendon-to-bone healing is typically poor, with a high rate of repair-site rupture. Bone loss after tendon-to-bone repair may contribute to poor outcomes. Therefore, we hypothesized that the local application of the osteogenic growth factor bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP-2) would promote bone formation, leading to improved repair-site mechanical properties. Intrasynovial canine flexor tendons were injured in Zone 1 and repaired into bone tunnels in the distal phalanx. BMP-2 was delivered to the repair site using either a calcium phosphate matrix (CPM) or a collagen sponge (COL) carrier. Each animal also received carrier alone in an adjacent repair to serve as an internal control. Repairs were evaluated at 21 days using biomechanical, radiographic, and histologic assays. Although an increase in osteoid formation was noted histologically, no significant increases in bone mineral density occurred. When excluding functional failures (i.e., ruptured and gapped repairs), mechanical properties were not different when comparing BMP-2/CPM groups with carrier controls. A significantly higher percentage of BMP-2 treated specimens had a maximum force <20 N compared to carrier controls. While tendon-to-bone healing can be enhanced by addressing the bone loss that typically occurs after surgical repair, the delivery of BMP-2 using the concentrations and methods of the current study did not improve mechanical properties over carrier alone. The anticipated anabolic effect of BMP-2 was insufficient in the short time frame of this study to counter the post-repair loss of bone.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1702-1709
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Orthopaedic Research
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2012


  • BMP-2
  • animal model
  • enthesis
  • growth factor


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