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8th Combined Meeting Of Orthopaedic Research Societies (CORS)


Summary Statement

An autologous thrombin activated 3-fold PRP, mixed with a biphasic calcium phosphate at a 1mL:1cc ratio, is beneficial for early bone healing in older age sheep.


The management of bone defects continues to present challenges. Upon activation, platelets secrete an array of growth factors that contribute to bone regeneration. Therefore, combining platelet rich plasma (PRP) with bone graft substitutes has the potential to reduce or replace the reliance on autograft. The simple, autologous nature of PRP has encouraged its use. However, this enthusiasm has failed to consistently translate to clinical expediency. Lack of standardisation and improper use may contribute to the conflicting outcomes reported within both pre-clinical and clinical investigations. This study investigates the potential of PRP for bone augmentation in an older age sheep model. Specifically, PRP dose is controlled to provide clearer indications for its clinical use.


Eighty 11mm diameter defects of 20mm in depth were created in the cancellous bone within the epiphyseal region of the medial proximal tibia and distal femur of twenty five-year-old sheep. The defects were treated with three doses of an autologous thrombin activated PRP combined with a biphasic calcium phosphate (BCP). Activated platelet poor plasma (PPP) and the BCP alone provided reference groups, while the autograft and empty defects served as controls. All animals were sacrificed at four weeks post-operatively for radiographic assessment, micro-computed tomography quantification, histological assessment, histomorphometric quantification of new bone area and bone ingrowth, and weekly fluorochrome bone label quantification. TGF-β1 concentrations were quantified using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays.


The PRP had a 2.9-fold (0.4) increase in platelet concentration, a 0.57-fold (0.09) decrease in leukocytes, and a 0.65-fold (0.11) decrease in fibrinogen. After activation, the PRP had an 8.9-fold (1.5) increase in TGF-β1 serum concentration above baseline. Eleven (11) mm diameter cancellous bone defects in the hind legs of five-year-old sheep do not spontaneously heal within four weeks. PRP dose had a significant effect on the radiographic grade. The highest dose of PRP treatment had a significantly greater micro-CT BV/TV over the BCP alone (PRP: 30.6±1.8%; BCP: 24.5±0.1%). All doses of PRP treatment were significantly greater than the BCP alone for both the histomorphometric new bone area (PRP: 14.5±1.3%; BCP: 9.7±1.5%) and bone ingrowth depth (PRP: 2288±210µm; BCP:1151±268µm). From week two onwards, PRP had a significant effect on the weekly bone ingrowth over BCP, however, autograft had the greatest amount of fluorescently labelled bone within the first three weeks. PRP has a significant effect on the shape and density of osteoblasts within the central region of the defect compared to the BCP alone, however, was not significantly different to autograft. TGF-β1 appeared a better predictor of healing outcomes than platelet concentration, however both had relatively weak correlations (r<.324).


PRP induces new bone formation with a dose dependant response at four weeks when used with a biphasic calcium phosphate in older age sheep.