Growth/differentiation factor-5: A candidate therapeutic agent for periodontal regeneration? A review of pre-clinical data

Yolanda R. Moore, Douglas P. Dickinson, Ulf M E Wikesjö

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Aim: Therapeutic concepts involving the application of matrix, growth and differentiation factors have been advocated in support of periodontal wound healing/regeneration. Growth/differentiation factor-5 (GDF-5), a member of the bone morphogenetic protein family, represents one such factor. The purpose of this review is to provide a background of the therapeutic effects of GDF-5 expressed in various musculoskeletal settings using small and large animal platforms. Methods: A comprehensive literature search was conducted to identify all reports in the English language evaluating GDF-5 using the PubMed and Google search engines, and a manual search of the reference lists from the electronically retrieved reports. Two reviewers independently screened the titles and abstracts from a total of 69 reports, 22 of which were identified as pre-clinical (in vivo) evaluations of GDF-5. The full-length article of the 22 pre-clinical reports was then reviewed. Results: Various applications including cranial and craniofacial bone formation, spine fusion, long bone fracture healing, cartilage, and tendon/ligament repair using a variety of small and large animal platforms evaluating GDF-5 as a therapeutic agent were identified. A majority of studies, using biomechanical, radiographic, and histological analysis, demonstrated significant dose-dependent effects of GDF-5. These include increased/enhanced local bone formation, fracture healing/repair, and cartilage and tendon/ligament formation. GDF-5 frequently was shown to accelerate wound maturation. Several studies demonstrated GDF-5 to be a realistic alternative to autograft bone. Studies using pre-clinical models and human histology suggest GDF-5 may also increase/enhance periodontal wound healing/regeneration. Conclusions: GDF-5 appears a promising therapeutic agent for periodontal wound healing/regeneration as GDF-5 supports/accelerates bone and tendon/ligament formation in several musculoskeletal settings including periodontal tissues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)288-298
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Clinical Periodontology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2010


  • Bone
  • GDF-5
  • Growth/differentiation factor-5
  • Periodontal ligament
  • Periodontal regeneration
  • Review
  • Tissue engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Periodontics


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