MCM were provided by W. L. Murphy (University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI). Their preparation using low carbonate (4.2 mM NaHCO3) coating buffer and detailed characterization has been reported previously (41). Lyophilized MCM from the same batch as used in these prior studies, and our own (48), were loaded with a solution (100 μg/ml) of rhBMP-2 (W. Sebald, Department of Developmental Biology, University of Würzburg, Germany) in PBS for 4 hours at 37°C. BMP-2–loaded MCM were then centrifuged at 800g for 2 min and washed two times with PBS. Unloaded MCM without growth factor were incubated with PBS only and treated similarly.

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