Subcutaneous implantation of coarse powders (74-420 micron) of demineralized diaphyseal bone matrix resulted in the local differentiation of endochondral bone. However, implantation of matrix with particle size of 44-74 micron (Fine matrix) did not induce bone. We have recently reported that the dissociative extraction of coarse matrix with 4 M guanidine HCl resulted in a complete loss of the ability of matrix to induce endochondral bone; the total loss of biological activity could be restored by reconstitution of extracted soluble components with inactive residue. To determine the possible biochemical potential of fine matrix to induce bone, the matrix was extracted in 4 M guanidine HCl and the extract was reconstituted with biologically inactive 4 M guanidine HCl-treated coarse bone matrix residue. There was a complete restoration of the biological activity by the extract of fine matrix upon reconstitution with extracted coarse matrix. Polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis of the extract of fine matrix revealed similar protein profiles as seen for the extract of coarse matrix. Gel filtration of the 4 M guanidine HCl extract of fine powder on Sepharose CL-6B and the subsequent reconstitution of various column fractions with inactive coarse residue showed that fractions with proteins of 20,000-50,000 mol wt induced new bone formation. These observations demonstrate that although fine bone matrix contains, osteoinductive proteins, matrix geometry (size) is a critical factor in triggering the biochemical cascade of endochondral bone differentiation. Mixing of coarse matrix with Fine results in partial response and it was confined to areas in contact with coarse particles. The results imply a role for geometry of extracellular bone matrix in anchorage-dependent proliferation and differentiation of cells.

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