, Volume 116, Issue 5, pp 381-388
Date: 18 Oct 2001

Expression of vascular antigens by bone cells during bone regeneration in a membranous bone distraction system

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An in vivo system of membranous bone formation during distraction has been investigated in order to follow cells that express vascular markers with the objective of understanding the neovascularization process. Concomitantly, sustained proliferation of preskeletal cells was achieved through the application of mechanical force. New capillaries and leading edges that arose by angiogenesis from the periosteal and mucosal surfaces and invaded the central zone of the regenerating distraction tissue temporally preceded the growth of delicate woven bone trabeculae from both edges of the cut bone. Concentrically arranged 'onion-like' configurations were abundant in paracentral zones and in association with mesenchymal condensations, suggesting their de novo formation in situ. Vascular specific markers, the angiopoietin receptor Tie-2 and factor VIII-related antigen (FVIIIrAg), were localized immunohistochemically in order to follow cells of vascular origin. Endothelial cells of the new capillaries, centrally located cells of the concentric configurations, pericytes, and most of the adjacent polygonal mesenchymal cells stained positively with specific antibodies to both antigens. Moreover, preosteoblasts and osteoblasts that lie adjacent to or already embedded in the osteiod of the newly formed trabeculae were also FVIIIrAg and Tie-2 immunopositive. As the source of the bone-forming cells in regenerating tissue during distraction is not yet fully understood, this observation might support the possibility of their vascular origin.

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