Hyaluronic acid stimulates neovascularization during the regeneration of bone marrow after ablation

Andrew L. Raines, Moonhae Sunwoo, Arthur A. Gertzman, Kipling Thacker, Robert E. Guldberg, Zvi Schwartz, Barbara D. Boyan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Restoration of vasculature is a critical component for successful integration of implants in musculoskeletal tissue. Sodium hyaluronate (NaHY) has been used as a carrier for demineralized bone matrix (DBM). DBM is osteoinductive and osteoconductive, but whether NaHY by itself has an effect is not known. NaHY has been reported to promote neovascularization, suggesting it may increase neovasculature when used with DBM as well. To test this, we used a rat tibial marrow ablation model to assess neovascularization during bone formation and regeneration of marrow with different combinations of NaHY alone and NaHY+DBM. To assess neovascularization during normal healing, animals were euthanized at 3-, 6-, 14-, 21-, and 28-days post-ablation, and the vasculature perfused using a radio-opaque contrast agent. Vascular morphology was assessed using μCT and histology. Peak vessel volume within the marrow cavity was observed on day-14 post-ablation. Test materials were injected into the ablated marrow space as follows: (A) empty defect controls; (B) high MW (700-800 kDa) NaHY + heat inactivated DBM; (C) DBM in PBS; (D) low MW NaHY (35 kDa) + DBM; (E) high MW NaHY + DBM; (F) D:E 50:50; (G) low MW NaHY; (H) high MW NaHY; and (I) G:H 50:50. Neovascularization varied with bone substitute formulation. μCT results revealed that addition of NaHY resulted in an increase in vessel number compared to empty defects. Total blood vessel volume in all NaHY only groups were similar to DBM alone. Histomorphometry of sagittal sections showed that all three formulations of NaHY increased blood vessel number within the marrow cavity, confirming that NaHY promotes neovascularization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)575-583
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research - Part A
Volume96 A
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2011


  • DBM plus hyaluronic acid
  • histomorphometry
  • microCT using a contrast agent to label vasculature
  • rat tibial bone marrow ablation
  • vasculogenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Metals and Alloys


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