Distal tibial fracture repair in a neurofibromatosis type 1-deficient mouse treated with recombinant bone morphogenetic protein and a bisphosphonate


A. Schindeler, O. Birke, N. Y. C. Yu, A. Morse, A. Ruys, P. A. Baldock, D. G. Little


Congenital pseudarthrosis of the tibia is an uncommon manifestation of neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1), but one that remains difficult to treat due to anabolic deficiency and catabolic excess. Bone grafting and more recently recombinant human bone morphogenetic proteins (rhBMPs) have been identified as pro-anabolic stimuli with the potential to improve the outcome after surgery. As an additional pharmaceutical intervention, we describe the combined use of rhBMP-2 and the bisphosphonate zoledronic acid in a mouse model of NF1-deficient fracture repair. Fractures were generated in the distal tibiae of neurofibromatosis type 1-deficient (Nf1+/–) mice and control mice. Fractures were open and featured periosteal stripping. All mice received 10 µg rhBMP-2 delivered in a carboxymethylcellulose carrier around the fracture as an anabolic stimulus. Bisphosphonate-treated mice also received five doses of 0.02 mg/kg zoledronic acid given by intraperitoneal injection. When only rhBMP but no zoledronic acid was used to promote repair, 75% of fractures in Nf1+/– mice remained ununited at three weeks compared with 7% of controls (p < 0.001). Systemic post-operative administration of zoledronic acid halved the rate of ununited fractures to 37.5% (p < 0.07). These data support the concept that preventing bone loss in combination with anabolic stimulation may improve the outcome following surgical treatment for children with congenital pseudarthoris of the tibia and NF1.

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