Preclinical Safety of a 3D-Printed Hydroxyapatite-Demineralized Bone Matrix Scaffold for Spinal Fusion

Spine 2022 Volume 47, Issue 1, Pages 82-89


The objective of this study was to compare the host inflammatory response of our previously described hyperelastic, 3D-printed (3DP) hydroxyapatite (HA)-demineralized bone matrix (DBM) composite scaffold to the response elicited with the use of recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein-2 (rhBMP-2) in a preclinical rat posterolateral lumbar fusion model.

Summary of Background Data.

Our group previously found that this 3D-printed HA-DBM composite material shows promise as a bone graft substitute in a preclinical rodent model, but its safety profile had yet to be assessed.


Sixty female Sprague-Dawley rats underwent bilateral posterolateral intertransverse lumbar spinal fusion using with the following implants: 1) type I absorbable collagen sponge (ACS) alone; 2) 10 μg rhBMP-2/ACS; or 3) the 3DP HA-DBM composite scaffold (n = 20). The host inflammatory response was assessed using magnetic resonance imaging, while the local and circulating cytokine expression levels were evaluated by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays at subsequent postoperative time points (N = 5/time point).


At both 2 and 5 days postoperatively, treatment with the HA-DBM scaffold produced significantly less soft tissue edema at the fusion bed site relative to rhBMP-2-treated animals as quantified on magnetic resonance imaging. At every postoperative time point evaluated, the level of soft tissue edema in HA-DBM-treated animals was comparable to that of the ACS control group. At 2 days postoperatively, serum concentrations of tumor necrosis factor-α and macrophage chemoattractant protein-1 were significantly elevated in the rhBMP-2 treatment group relative to ACS controls, whereas these cytokines were not elevated in the HA-DBM-treated animals.


The 3D-printed HA-DBM composite induces a significantly reduced host inflammatory response in a preclinical spinal fusion model relative to rhBMP-2.