Distraction osteogenesis has become a mainstay in bone tissue engineering and has significantly improved our armamentarium for reconstructive craniomaxillofacial procedures. However, although the biomechanical, histological, and ultrastructural changes associated with distraction osteogenesis have been widely described, the molecular mechanisms governing the formation of new bone in the interfragmental gap of gradually distracted bone segments remain largely unclear. Recently, a rat model of mandibular distraction was described that provides an excellent environment for deciphering the molecular mechanisms that mediate distraction osteogenesis. This article presents the hypotheses and current research that have furthered knowledge of the molecular mechanisms that govern distraction osteogenesis. Recent studies have implicated a growing number of cytokines that are intimately involved in the regulation of bone synthesis and turnover. The gene regulation of numerous cytokines (transforming growth factor-beta1, -beta2, -beta3, bone morphogenetic proteins, insulin-like growth factor-1, fibroblast growth factor-2) and extracellular matrix proteins (osteonectin, osteopontin) during distraction osteogenesis have been best characterized and are discussed in this article. It is believed that understanding the biomolecular mechanisms that mediate membranous distraction osteogenesis may guide the development of targeted strategies designed to improve distraction osteogenesis and accelerate bone healing.
View details for DOI 10.1054/jems.2001.0263
View details for Web of Science ID 000177084200001
View details for PubMedID 12064876