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Open Access Research article

Impregnation of bone chips with alendronate and cefazolin, combined with demineralized bone matrix: a bone chamber study in goats

Nina MC Mathijssen12*, Gerjon Hannink35, Peter Pilot1, B Wim Schreurs4, Rolf M Bloem12 and Pieter Buma3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Orthopaedics, Reinier de Graaf Groep, Reinier de Graafweg 3/11, 2625, AD Delft, The Netherlands

2 Bislife, Galileiweg 8, 2333, BD Leiden, The Netherlands

3 Orthopaedic Research Laboratory, UMC St. Radboud, P.O. Box 9101, 6500, HB Nijmegen, The Netherlands

4 Department of Orthopaedics, UMC St. Radboud, P.O. Box 9101, 6500, HB Nijmegen, The Netherlands

5 Department of Operating Rooms, UMC St. Radboud, P.O. Box 9101, 6500, HB Nijmegen, The Netherlands

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BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2012, 13:44  doi:10.1186/1471-2474-13-44

Published: 24 March 2012



Bone grafts from bone banks might be mixed with bisphosphonates to inhibit the osteoclastic response. This inhibition prevents the osteoclasts to resorb the allograft bone before new bone has been formed by the osteoblasts, which might prevent instability. Since bisphosphonates may not only inhibit osteoclasts, but also osteoblasts and thus bone formation, we studied different bisphosphonate concentrations combined with allograft bone. We investigated whether locally applied alendronate has an optimum dose with respect to bone resorption and formation. Further, we questioned whether the addition of demineralized bone matrix (DBM), would stimulate bone formation. Finally, we studied the effect of high levels of antibiotics on bone allograft healing, since mixing allograft bone with antibiotics might reduce the infection risk.


25 goats received eight bone conduction chambers in the cortical bone of the proximal medial tibia. Five concentrations of alendronate (0, 0.5 mg/mL, 1 mg/mL, 2 mg/mL, and 10 mg/mL) were tested in combination with allograft bone and supplemented with cefazolin (200 μg/mL). Allograft not supplemented with alendronate and cefazolin served as control. In addition, allograft mixed with demineralized bone matrix, with and without alendronate, was tested. After 12 weeks, graft bone area and new bone area were determined with manual point counting.


Graft resorption decreased significantly (p < 0.001) with increasing alendronate concentration. The area of new bone in the 1 mg/mL alendronate group was significantly (p = 0.002) higher when compared to the 10 mg/mL group. No differences could be observed between the group without alendronate, but with demineralized bone, and the control groups.


A dose-response relationship for local application of alendronate has been shown in this study. Most new bone was present at 1 mg/mL alendronate. Local application of cefazolin had no effect on bone remodelling.