Background: Autologous periosteal grafting is used as treatment for articular cartilage defect. Objective: To study the effect of bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) on articular cartilage regeneration following periosteal grafting. Methods: 16 healthy 15 week-old New Zealand white rabbits of both sexes (32 knees) were randomly divided into experimental group (group A) and control group (group B). A4.0 mmdiameter full-thickness articular cartilage defect was created in the femoral intercondylar fossa in all rabbits. Following this, a4.0 mmdiameter section of the periosteum was harvested from the anteromedial part of the upper tibial bone. In group A (eight rabbits, 16 knees), the cartilage defect was covered with periosteum, into which 20 μg BMP and 20% Pluronic were injected. In group B (eight rabbits, 16 knees), the cartilage defect was covered with periosteum, into which the same dosage of 0.9% NS (Normal saline) and 20% Pluronic were injected. All rabbits were sacrificed at 4, 8, and 12 weeks postoperatively, the cartilage defect areas were examined macroscopically and microscopically, and the morphology of the chondrocytes and collagen fibers were examined by scanning electron microscopy. Results: The filling of the defects with regenerated tissue was observed in both the group. The most notable improvement was that the cartilage regeneration in group A was obviously superior to that in group B, with the total histological score in group A significantly higher. Conclusion: BMP is an effective factor that could promote regeneration of articular cartilage and lead to successful cartilaginous resurfacing following periosteal grafting
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