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This article is the author’s final published version in Dental Materials, Volume 36 Issue 10, October 2020, Pages 1303-1313.

The published version is available at Copyright © The Academy of Dental Materials


OBJECTIVE: Compared to autologous bone grafts, allogeneic bone grafts integrate slowly, which can adversely affect clinical outcomes. Here, our goal was to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying graft incorporation, and then test clinically feasible methods to accelerate this process.

METHODS: Wild-type and transgenic Wnt "reporter" mice were used in a vertical ridge augmentation procedure. The surgery consisted of tunneling procedure to elevate the maxillary edentulous ridge periosteum, followed by the insertion of bone graft. Micro-computed tomographic imaging, and molecular/cellular analyses were used to follow the bone graft over time. Sclerostin null mice, and mice carrying an activated form of β-catenin were evaluated to understand how elevated Wnt signaling impacted edentulous ridge height and based on these data, a biomimetic strategy was employed to combine bone graft particles with a formulation of recombinant WNT protein. Thereafter, the rate of graft incorporation was evaluated.

RESULTS: Tunneling activated osteoprogenitor cell proliferation from the periosteum. If graft particles were present, then osteoprogenitor cells attached to the matrix and gave rise to new bone that augmented edentulous ridge height. Graft particles alone did not stimulate osteoprogenitor cell proliferation. Based on the thicker edentulous ridges in mice with amplified Wnt signaling, a strategy was undertaken to load bone graft particles with WNT; this combination was sufficient to accelerate the initial step of graft incorporation.

SIGNIFICANCE: Local delivery of a WNT protein therapeutic has the potential to accelerate graft incorporation, and thus shorten the time to when the graft can support a dental implant.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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