Enhanced Sternal Healing Through Platelet-Rich Plasma and Biodegradable Gelatin Hydrogel

Tissue Engineering Part A Vol. 24, No. 17-18

The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of the controlled release of PRP from biodegradable gelatin hydrogel for promoting healing in a rabbit ischemic sternal model.

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) contains numerous growth factors and promotes bone fracture healing. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of the controlled release of PRP from biodegradable gelatin hydrogel for promoting healing in a rabbit ischemic sternal model. PRP was prepared from the whole blood of a Japanese white rabbit. Sixteen rabbits were randomized into four groups (each n = 4) and all underwent median sternotomy and bilateral internal thoracic artery removal. Before the sternum was closed, the following solutions were applied between the sternum incisions in three of the groups: 30 mg of gelatin hydrogel incorporating 300 μL of phosphate-buffered saline, 300 μL of a solution form of PRP, or 30 mg of gelatin hydrogel incorporating 300 μL of PRP (PRP + Gel). The fourth group acted as a control. Sternal healing was evaluated by histology and microcomputed tomography 7 days after the intervention. The PRP + Gel group showed a significantly higher proportion of fibrosis within the fracture area (an indicator of sternal healing) than the other groups and a significantly higher mean intensity of osteocalcin. These results indicate that the controlled release of PRP from locally applied gelatin hydrogel was markedly effective in enhancing sternal healing in the early postoperative period. This novel therapy could potentially help prevent complications, such as deep sternal wound infection and could result in early postoperative ambulation after median sternotomy.