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  • Author or Editor: David F. Kallmes x
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Tord D. Alden, Gerald R. Hankins, Elisa J. Beres, David F. Kallmes and Gregory A. Helm

Gene therapy has many potential applications in neurosurgery. One application involves bone morphogenetic protein-2 (BMP-2), a low-molecular-weight glycoprotein that induces bone formation in vivo. Numerous studies have demonstrated that the BMP-2 protein can enhance spinal fusion. This study was undertaken to determine whether direct injection of an adenoviral construct containing the BMP-2 gene can be used for spinal fusion. Twelve athymic nude rats were used in this study. Recombinant, replication-defective type-5 adenovirus with a universal promoter and BMP-2 gene (Ad-BMP-2) was used. A second adenovirus constructed with a universal promoter and ß-galactosidase (ß-gal) gene (Ad-ß-gal) was used as a control. Seven and one-half microliters of virus was injected percutaneously and paraspinally at the lumbosacral junction in three groups (four animals each): 1) Ad-BMP-2 bilaterally, 2) Ad-BMP-2 on the right, Ad-ß-gal on the left, and 3) Ad-ß-gal bilaterally. Computerized tomography (CT) scans of the lumbosacral spine were obtained at 3, 5, and 12 weeks. At 12 weeks, the animals were killed for histological inspection. Ectopic bone formation was seen both on three-dimensional CT reconstruction and histologically in all rats at sites treated with Ad-BMP-2. Histological analysis revealed bone at different stages of maturity adjacent to the spinous processes, laminae, and transverse processes. This study clearly demonstrated that it is possible to produce in vivo endochondral bone formation by using direct adenoviral construct injection into the paraspinal musculature, which suggests that gene therapy may be useful for spinal fusion in the future.

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Gregory A. Helm, Jin Zhong Li, Tord D. Alden, Sarah B. Hudson, Elisa J. Beres, Mary Cunningham, Mark M. Mikkelsen, Debra D. Pittman, Kelvin M. Kerns and David F. Kallmes

Object. Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) are involved in the growth and development of many tissues, but it is their role in skeletal development and their unique ability to induce ectopic and orthotopic osteogenesis that have attracted the greatest interest. Expression of the BMP-13 gene is predominantly localized to hypertrophic chondrocytes in regions of endochondral bone formation during development, as well as in mature articular cartilage in the adult. In addition, the application of BMP-13 on a collagen carrier induces neotendon/neoligament formation when delivered subcutaneously or intramuscularly in rodents. The aim of the present study was to determine the histological and ultrastructural changes that occur after the intramuscular injection of a first-generation BMP-13 adenoviral vector.

Methods. Athymic nude rats were injected with 3.75 × 1010 plaque-forming units of adenovirus (Ad)-BMP-13 or Ad-β-galactosidase in the thigh musculature, and the region was examined using light and electron microscopy at various time points between 2 days and 100 days postinjection. As early as 2 days after injection of Ad-BMP-13, progenitor cells were observed infiltrating between the transduced muscle fibers. These cells subsequently proliferated, differentiated, and secreted large amounts of collagenous extracellular matrix. By 100 days postinjection, the treated tissue displayed the histological and ultrastructural appearance of neotendon/neoligament, which was clearly demarcated from the surrounding muscle. Small foci of bone and fibrocartilage were also seen within the treated tissue. A short-term bromodeoxyuridine study also demonstrated rapid mesenchymal cell proliferation at the Ad-BMP-13 injection site as early as 48 hours postinjection. At all time points, the control AD-β-gal injection sites were found to contain only normal muscle, without evidence of inflammation or mesenchymal cell proliferation.

Conclusions. The results of this study indicate that in the future the use of the BMP-13 gene may have therapeutic utility for the healing of tendon and ligament tears and avulsion injuries.

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Tord D. Alden, Debra D. Pittman, Elisa J. Beres, Gerald R. Hankins, David F. Kallmes, Benjamin M. Wisotsky, Kelvin M. Kerns and Gregory A. Helm

Object. Gene therapy has many potential applications in neurosurgery. One application involves bone morphogenetic protein-2 (BMP-2), a low-molecular-weight glycoprotein that induces bone formation in vivo. Numerous studies have demonstrated that the BMP-2 protein can enhance spinal fusion. This study was undertaken to determine whether direct injection of an adenoviral construct containing the BMP-2 gene can be used for spinal fusion.

Methods. Twelve athymic nude rats were used in this study. Recombinant, replication-defective type 5 adenovirus with the cytomegalovirus (CMV) promoter and BMP-2 gene (Ad-BMP-2) was used. A second adenovirus constructed with the CMV promoter and β-galactosidase (β-gal) gene (Ad-β-gal) was used as a control. In three groups (four rats each) 7.5 µl of virus (5 × 108 particles/µl) was injected percutaneously and paraspinally at the lumbosacral junction: Group 1 received Ad-BMP-2 bilaterally; Group 2 received Ad-BMP-2 on the right, Ad-β-gal on the left; and Group 3 received Ad-β-gal bilaterally. Computerized tomography (CT) scans of the lumbosacral spine were obtained at 3, 5, 8, and 12 weeks. At 12 weeks, the animals were killed and underwent histological inspection. Ectopic bone formation was observed both on three-dimensionally reconstructed CT scans and histological examination in all rats at sites treated with Ad-BMP-2. Histological analysis demonstrated bone at different stages of maturity adjacent to the spinous processes, laminae, and transverse processes.

Conclusions. Results of this study clearly demonstrated that it is possible to produce in vivo endochondral bone formation by using direct adenoviral construct injection into the paraspinal musculature, which suggests that gene therapy may be useful for spinal fusion in the future.

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Gregory A. Helm, Tord D. Alden, Elisa J. Beres, Sarah B. Hudson, Subinoy Das, Jonathan A. Engh, Debra D. Pittman, Kelvin M. Kerns and David F. Kallmes

Object. Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) have been shown to have significant osteoinductive activity in numerous in vitro and in vivo assay systems, and BMP-2 and BMP-7 are currently being evaluated in human clinical studies. In the spinal region, BMPs have been shown to promote spinal arthrodesis at a higher rate than autologous bone alone. The delivery of BMPs via direct or ex vivo gene therapy techniques is also currently being evaluated and has shown promise in several mammalian models. The present study was designed to evaluate the efficacy of the use of direct, percutaneous BMP-9 adenoviral gene therapy to promote spinal fusion in the rodent.

Methods. Each animal was injected with 7.5 × 108 pfu of a BMP-9 adenoviral vector in the lumbar paraspinal musculature and allowed to survive 16 weeks. Computerized tomography studies and histological analysis demonstrated massive bone induction at the injection sites, clearly leading to solid spinal arthrodesis, without evidence of pseudarthroses, nerve root compression, or systemic side effects.

Conclusions. The results of this study strongly support the advancement of BMP gene therapy techniques toward clinical use.

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Gregory A. Helm, Jin Zhong Li, Tord D. Alden, Sarah A. Hudson, Elisa J. Beres, Mary Cunningham, Mark M. Mikkelsen, Debra D. Pittman, Kelvin M. Kerns and David F. Kallmes

Object

Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) are involved in the growth and development of many tissues, but it is their role in skeletal development and their unique ability to induce ectopic and orthotopic osteogenesis that has attracted the greatest interest. Expression of the BMP-13 gene has been shown to be predominantly localized to hypertrophic chondrocytes in regions of endochondral bone formation during development, as well as in mature articular cartilage in the adult. In addition, the application of BMP-13 on a collagen carrier induces neotendon/ligament formation when delivered subcutaneously or intramuscularly in rodents. The aim of the present study was to determine the histological and ultrastructural changes that occur after the intramuscular injection of a first-generation BMP-13 adenoviral vector.

Methods

Athymic nude rats were injected with 3.75 × 1010 plaque-forming unit adenovirus (Ad)-BMP-13 or Ad-β-galactosidase in the thigh musculature, and the regions examined using light and electron microscopy at various time points between 2 and 100 days postinjection. As early as 2 days after injection of Ad-BMP-13, progenitor cells were observed infiltrating between the transduced muscle fibers. These cells subsequently proliferated, differentiated, and secreted large amounts of collagenous extracellular matrix. By 100 days postinjection, the induced tissue had the histological and ultrastructural appearance of neotendon/ligament, which was clearly demarcated from the surrounding muscle. Small foci of bone and fibrocartilage were also seen within the induced tissue. A short-term bromodeoxyuri-dine study also demonstrated rapid mesenchymal cell proliferation at the Ad-BMP-13 injection site as early as 48 hours postinjection.

Conclusions

The results of this study suggest that in the future the use of the BMP-13 gene may have therapeutic utility for the healing of tendon and ligament tears and avulsion injuries.