pHEMA-nHA Encapsulation and Delivery of Vancomycin and rhBMP-2 Enhances its Role as a Bone Graft Substitute

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Orthopedics and Physical Rehabilitation; Department of Cell and Developmental Biology

Publication Date


Document Type



Bone Transplantation; Bone Substitutes


Biomedical Engineering and Bioengineering | Orthopedics


BACKGROUND: Bone grafts are widely used in orthopaedic procedures. Autografts are limited by donor site morbidity while allografts are known for considerable infection and failure rates. A synthetic composite bone graft substitute poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate)-nanocrystalline hydroxyapatite (pHEMA-nHA) was previously developed to stably press-fit in and functionally repair critical-sized rat femoral segmental defects when it was preabsorbed with a single low dose of 300 ng recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein-2/7 (rhBMP-2/7).

QUESTIONS/PURPOSES: To facilitate clinical translation of pHEMA-nHA as a synthetic structural bone graft substitute, we examined its ability to encapsulate and release rhBMP-2 and the antibiotic vancomycin.

METHODS: We analyzed the compressive behavior and microstructure of pHEMA-nHA as a function of vancomycin incorporation doses using a dynamic mechanical analyzer and a scanning electron microscope. In vitro release of vancomycin was monitored by ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy. Release of rhBMP-2 from pHEMA-nHA-vancomycin was determined by ELISA. Bioactivity of the released vancomycin and rhBMP-2 was examined by bacterial inhibition and osteogenic transdifferentiation capabilities in cell culture, respectively.

RESULTS: Up to 4.8 wt% of vancomycin was incorporated into pHEMA-nHA without compromising its structural integrity and compressive modulus. Encapsulated vancomycin was released in a dose-dependent and sustained manner in phosphate-buffered saline over 2 weeks, and the released vancomycin inhibited Escherichia coli culture. The pHEMA-nHA-vancomycin composite released preabsorbed rhBMP-2 in a sustained manner over 8 days and locally induced osteogenic transdifferentiation of C2C12 cells in culture.

CONCLUSIONS: pHEMA-nHA can encapsulate and deliver vancomycin and rhBMP-2 in a sustained and localized manner with reduced loading doses.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE: The elasticity, osteoconductivity, and rhBMP-2/vancomycin delivery characteristics of pHEMA-nHA may benefit orthopaedic reconstructions or fusions with enhanced safety and efficiency and reduced infection risk.

DOI of Published Version



Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2012 Oct 16. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Clinical orthopaedics and related research

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Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID