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2007   Volume No 13– pages 1-10

Title: Animal models for implant biomaterial research in bone: A review

Author: AI Pearce, RG Richards, S Milz, E Schneider, SG Pearce

Address: AO Research Institute, AO Foundation, Clavadelerstrasse 8, Davos, Switzerland

E-mail: alexandra.pearce at aofoundation.org

Key Words: Animal-models, biomaterials, osseointegration, bone, implant, dog, pig, sheep, goat, rabbit.

Publication date: March 2nd 2007

Abstract: Development of an optimal interface between bone and orthopaedic and dental implants has taken place for many years. In order to determine whether a newly developed implant material conforms to the requirements of biocompatibility, mechanical stability and safety, it must undergo rigorous testing both in vitro and in vivo. Results from in vitro studies can be difficult to extrapolate to the in vivo situation. For this reason the use of animal models is often an essential step in the testing of orthopaedic and dental implants prior to clinical use in humans. This review discusses some of the more commonly available and frequently used animal models such as the dog, sheep, goat, pig and rabbit models for the evaluation of bone-implant interactions. Factors for consideration when choosing an animal model and implant design are discussed. Various bone specific features are discussed including the usage of the species, bone macrostructure and microstructure and bone composition and remodelling, with emphasis being placed on the similarity between the animal model and the human clinical situation. While the rabbit was the most commonly used of the species discussed in this review, it is clear that this species showed the least similarities to human bone. There were only minor differences in bone composition between the various species and humans. The pig demonstrated a good likeness with human bone however difficulties may be encountered in relation to their size and ease of handling. In this respect the dog and sheep/goat show more promise as animal models for the testing of bone implant materials. While no species fulfils all of the requirements of an ideal model, an understanding of the differences in bone architecture and remodelling between the species is likely to assist in the selection of a suitable species for a defined research question.

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Last modified December 18, 2012

Open Access / Author retains copyright

AO Foundation, Davos, Switzerland