Abstract

Fibroblast growth factors are present in significant amounts in bone and several studies have suggested that they may be involved in normal fracture healing. It is well established that fibroblast growth factors have mitogenic and angiogenic activity on mesoderm and neuroectoderm derived cells. Of particular interest as a member of the fibroblast growth factor family, basic fibroblast growth factor stimulates mitogenesis, chemotaxis, differentiation, and angiogenesis. It also plays an important role in the development of vascular, nervous, and skeletal systems, promotes the maintenance and survival of certain tissues, and stimulates wound healing and tissue repair. Animal studies have shown that the direct injection of fibroblast growth factor into fresh fractures stimulates callus formation, which provides mechanical stability to the fracture, accelerates healing, and restores competence. The matrix used to present the fibroblast growth factor at the fracture site plays a critical role in the effectiveness of the treatment. The evaluation of injectable basic fibroblast growth factor in a sodium hyaluronate gel for its effectiveness in stimulating fracture healing is described. When applied directly into a freshly created fracture in the rabbit fibula, a single injection of the basic fibroblast growth factor and hyaluronan results in the stimulation of callus formation, increased bone formation, and earlier restoration of mechanical strength at the fracture site. The hyaluronan gel serves as a reservoir that sequesters the basic fibroblast growth factor at the injection site for the length of time necessary to create an environment conducive to fracture healing. It is concluded that basic fibroblast growth factor and sodium fracture healing and that the combination is suitable for clinical evaluation as a therapy in fracture treatment.

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