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Issue 21, 2015
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Controlled implant/soft tissue interaction by nanoscale surface modifications of 3D porous titanium implants

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Porous titanium implants are widely employed in the orthopaedics field to ensure good bone fixation. Recently, the use of porous titanium implants has also been investigated in artificial larynx development in a clinical setting. Such uses necessitate a better understanding of the interaction of soft tissues with porous titanium structures. Moreover, surface treatments of titanium have been generally evaluated in planar structures, while the porous titanium implants have complex 3 dimensional (3D) architectures. In this study, the determining factors for soft tissue integration of 3D porous titanium implants were investigated as a function of surface treatments via quantification of the interaction of serum proteins and cells with single titanium microbeads (300–500 μm in diameter). Samples were either acid etched or nanostructured by anodization. When the samples are used in 3D configuration (porous titanium discs of 2 mm thickness) in vivo (in subcutis of rats for 2 weeks), a better integration was observed for both anodized and acid etched samples compared to the non-treated implants. If the implants were also pre-treated with rat serum before implantation, the integration was further facilitated. In order to understand the underlying reasons for this effect, human fibroblast cell culture tests under several conditions (directly on beads, beads in suspension, beads encapsulated in gelatin hydrogels) were conducted to mimic the different interactions of cells with Ti implants in vivo. Physical characterization showed that surface treatments increased hydrophilicity, protein adsorption and roughness. Surface treatments also resulted in improved adsorption of serum albumin which in turn facilitated the adsorption of other proteins such as apolipoprotein as quantified by protein sequencing. The cellular response to the beads showed considerable difference with respect to the cell culture configuration. When the titanium microbeads were entrapped in cell-laden gelatin hydrogels, significantly more cells migrated towards the acid etched beads. In conclusion, the nanoscale surface treatment of 3D porous titanium structures can modulate in vivo integration by the accumulative effect of the surface treatment on several physical factors such as protein adsorption, surface hydrophilicity and surface roughness. The improved protein adsorption capacity of the treated implants can be further exploited by a pre-treatment with autologous serum to render the implant surface more bioactive. Titanium microbeads are a good model system to observe these effects in a 3D microenvironment and provide a better representation of cellular responses in 3D.

Graphical abstract: Controlled implant/soft tissue interaction by nanoscale surface modifications of 3D porous titanium implants

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The article was received on 23 feb. 2015, accepted on 21 apr. 2015 and first published on 28 apr. 2015

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C5NR01237F
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Citation: Nanoscale, 2015,7, 9908-9918

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    Controlled implant/soft tissue interaction by nanoscale surface modifications of 3D porous titanium implants

    E. Rieger, A. Dupret-Bories, L. Salou, M. Metz-Boutigue, P. Layrolle, C. Debry, P. Lavalle and N. Engin Vrana, Nanoscale, 2015, 7, 9908
    DOI: 10.1039/C5NR01237F

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