The Glycoprotein/Cytokine Erythropoietin Promotes Rapid Alveolar Ridge Regeneration In Vivo by Promoting New Bone Extracellular Matrix Deposition in Conjunction with Coupled Angiogenesis/Osteogenesis.
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The loss of bone following tooth extraction poses a significant clinical problem for maxillofacial esthetics, function, and future implant placement. In the present study, the efficacy of an erythropoietin-impregnated collagen scaffold as an alveolar ridge augmentation material versus a conventional collagen scaffold and a BioOss inorganic bovine bone xenograft was examined. The collagen/Erythropoietin (EPO) scaffold exhibited significantly more rapid and complete osseous regeneration of the alveolar defect when compared to bone xenograft and the collagen membrane alone. The new EPO induced extracellular matrix was rich in Collagen I, Collagen III, Fibronectin (Fn) and E-cadherin, and featured significantly increased levels of the osteogenic transcription factors Runt-related transcription factor 2 (Runx2) and Osterix (Osx). Histomorphometric evaluation revealed a significant two-fold increase in the number of capillaries between the EPO and the BioOss group. Moreover, there was a highly significant 3.5-fold higher level of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in the collagen/EPO-treated group compared to controls. The significant effect of EPO on VEGF, FN, and RUNX2 upregulation was confirmed in vitro, and VEGF pathway analysis using VEGF inhibitors confirmed that EPO modulated extracellular matrix protein expression through VEGF even in the absence of blood vessels. Together, these data demonstrate the effectiveness of an EPO-impregnated collagen scaffold for bone regeneration as it induces rapid matrix production and osseoinduction adjacent to new capillaries via VEGF.