Pharmaceutical bone growth stimulation holds promise for prevention and treatment bone disorders, and the enhancement of fracture healing. Bone growth hormones have begun to have limited clinical use, but can illicit adverse side effects. Recent studies have shown that short peptides (less than 15 amino acids) derived from the protein sequence of Vitamin D Binding Protein (DBP), can enhance bone formation (osteogenesis). These peptides may have potential as controllable bone growth stimulators without the adverse side effects and cost of bone growth hormones. Rats, injected every other day for two weeks with DBP-based peptide fragments ranging from 3 to 13 amino acids in length, were euthanized and the tibias and femurs were scanned by peripheral quantitative computerized tomography (pQCT) to determine bone density and cross-sectional geometric properties. The bones were then tested in three-point bending to determine strength and bending modulus. Injection of DBP-based peptides over only a 2-week period resulted in significant (p<0.05) increases in bone density and material properties in the experimental rat bones in comparison to controls injected with saline. The short length of these effective peptides suggests their use not only in systemic injections but also as clinically convenient pills taken orally for pharmaceutically induced bone growth stimulation.

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