Overview of methods for enhancing bone regeneration in distraction osteogenesis: Potential roles of biometals

Ye Li, Qi Pan, Jiankun Xu, Xuan He, Helen A. Li, Derek A. Oldridge, Gang Li, Ling Qin

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Distraction osteogenesis (DO) is a functional tissue engineering approach that applies gradual mechanical traction on the bone tissues after osteotomy to stimulate bone regeneration. However, DO still has disadvantages that limit its clinical use, including long treatment duration Methods: Review the current methods of promoting bone formation and consolidation in DO with particular interest on biometal. Results: Numerous approaches, including physical therapy, gene therapy, growth factor-based therapy, stem-cell-based therapy, and improved distraction devices, have been explored to reduce the DO treatment duration with some success. Nevertheless, no approach to date is widely accepted in clinical practice due to various reasons, such as high expense, short biologic half-life, and lack of effective delivery methods. Biometals, including calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), zinc (Zn), copper (Cu), manganese (Mn), and cobalt (Co) have attracted attention in bone regeneration attributed to their biodegradability and bioactive components released during in vivo degradation. Conclusion: This review summarizes the current therapies accelerating bone formation in DO and the beneficial role of biometals in bone regeneration, particularly focusing on the use of biometal Mg and its alloy in promoting bone formation in DO. Translational potential: The potential clinical applications using Mg-based devices to accelerate DO are promising. Mg stimulates expression of multiple intrinsic biological factors and the development of Mg as an implantable component in DO may be used to argument bone formation and consolidation in DO.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)110-118
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Orthopaedic Translation
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Biodegradable
  • Biometal
  • Bone regeneration
  • Distraction osteogenesis (DO)
  • Magnesium (Mg)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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