The purpose of this experiment was to study the effects of chitosan, calcium sulfate, and calcium sulfate-chitosan composite pellet on the osteogenesis of defective tibia in rabbits. Eighty New Zealand white rabbits, each weighing approximately 3 to 3.5 kg, were used for this study. A 1-cm ostectomy was made on the middle of the tibia of each rabbit with the periosteum preserved. Nothing was implanted in the control group (group 1), and five chitosan pellets (60 mg/pellet) were implanted in group 1, three OsteoSet® pellets (100 mg/pellet) in group 3, and four calcium sulfate-chitosan composite pellets (1 pellet, 80 mg; calcium sulfate 40 mg/pellet, chitosan 40 mg/pellet) in group 4. For each group, a radiographic study, bone mineral density test, three-point bending test, and histologic examination were performed in the second, fourth, and sixth weeks. In the radiologic study, in group 1, cortical bone was not formed even at 6 weeks. In group 2, it was observed at 6 weeks. In groups 3 and 4, cortical bone was partially seen around the fourth week. At 6 weeks, it was clearly observed on both sides, and the projection of the marrow cavity became distinctive, so bone consolidation was considered to be much progressed. The bone mineral density test and three-point bending test results appeared to be highly similar in groups 3 and 4 and in groups 2 and 1. Particularly at 6 weeks, the measures for groups 3 and 4 were statistically significant compared with those for groups 1 and 2 (P < 0.05). In histologic examination, new bone formation began to be seen at 2 weeks in all groups, but it was more active and faster in groups 3 and 4. At 6 weeks, fibrous connective tissue still remained at the center in groups 1 and 2; however, the fibrous connective tissue at the center was replaced with callus, the bony bridge was obvious, and lamellation of callus was observed more in groups 3 and 4. The results indicate that chitosan pellets, OsteoSet, and chitosan-calcium. sulfate composite pellets facilitate new bone formation on defected bone, and that particularly OsteoSet® and chitosan-calcium sulfate composite pellets are more effective than chitosan.
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