A number of physicians have attempted to pharmacologically manipulate the healing of bony fractures with a variety of agents such as growth hormone, thyroxine, chondroitin sulfate, and parathyroid hormone. Thus far, results from these experiments have been inconclusive. Previous research dealing with insulin-like growth factors has centered on cultures of osteoblast-like cells and has demonstrated a stimulatory effect on bone collagen synthesis, which may in fact play a critical role in the process of bone formation itself. The purpose of this investigation was to examine the effects of a genetically engineered growth factor, insulin growth factor type I, on midfacial fracture healing. In 24 adult male Sprague-Dawley rats, a standardized defect was created within the midportion of each zygomatic arch. One-half were treated with insulin growth factor type I administered with an osmotic infusion pump and the other half served as control subjects. At 2, 4, 8, and 12 weeks, animals from each group were killed and specimens of the defect obtained. Data were collected from radiographs and histological studies to compare the extent of bony repair. From this study, it appears that insulin growth factor type I could exert a potentiating effect on the repair of midfacial bone defects.
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