Chitosan-Hydroxyapatite Scaffold for Tissue Engineering in Experimental Lumbar Laminectomy and Posterolateral Spinal Fusion in Wistar Rats.

Study Design:

Experimental study with an animal model.


To evaluate the role of a chitosan and hydroxyapatite composite for spinal fusion in a lumbar experimental model based on regenerative tissue engineering principles.

Overview of Literature:

Chitosan and hydroxyapatite represent an alternative biodegradable implant material for tissue engineering and regeneration. The combination of chitosan and hydroxyapatite in a 20:80 ratio could potentiate their individual properties as an implantable composite for experimental laminectomy.


Phase I: design and synthesis of a porous composite scaffold composed of chitosan-hydroxyapatite using a freeze drying technique. Phase II: experimental microsurgical lumbar laminectomy at L5. A total of 35 Wistar rats were categorized into three experimental groups: control (laminectomy alone), experimental (laminectomy with implant), and reference (intact spine) (n=5 per group). Postoperative structural and functional evaluations were performed using computed tomography scans. In addition, radiologic, clinical, histological, and immunohistochemical microstructures were evaluated.


At the laminectomy site, the composite implant induced bone regeneration, which was observed in the axial reconstruction of the rat lumbar spine in all cases. Biomechanical changes in the lumbar spine were observed by radiology in both groups after the surgery. The posterolateral space was covered by a bone structure in the treated spine, a condition not seen in the control group. The range of motion was 7.662°±0.81° in the scaffold group versus 20.72°±3.47° in the control group. Histological findings revealed qualitatively more bone tissue formation in the implant group.


A composite of chitosan-hydroxyapatite at a 20:80 ratio induced bone formation after experimental laminectomy in rats and led to spinal fusion, which was assessed by radiology and biomechanical tests. No functional complications in posture or walking were observed at 90 days post-surgery, despite biomechanical changes in the spine.

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