Purpose: We examined the expression pattern of bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) during mandibular distraction osteogenesis in rabbits and also investigated the mechanism of membranous bone distraction. Materials and Methods: Twenty-three rabbits underwent mandibular distraction (protocol; no latency period, a 1-week distraction at 0.5 mm/d, and a 2-week consolidation period). Samples were collected at 3, 5, and 7 days of distraction and at 1-week and 2-week consolidation. We prepared undecalcified fresh-frozen sections and immunohistochemically evaluated the expression of BMPs 2 through 8. Results: Both endochondral ossification and intramembranous ossification were observed. The expression of BMPs 2, 4, 5, and 6 was observed continuously from the beginning of distraction. BMP-7 was expressed weakly. The expression of BMP-3 was not observed conspicuously during distraction but was strongly expressed at 1- and 2-week consolidation. Conclusion: The expression pattern of BMPs during membranous bone distraction was similar to that during long bone distraction, but it differed from the expression pattern of long bone distraction in that the expression of BMPs was maintained for 2 weeks after the completion of distraction.
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