Researchers in China and Japan have tested a novel process for coating titanium implants with bioactive composites. Their research suggests that titanium implants coated with calcium phosphate and gelatine have great potential in clinical joint replacements or dental implants.

Science and Technology of Advanced Materials

Surface staining of bone-implant interface four weeks (A, C, E) and eight weeks (B, D, F) after implantation.
A, B: pure titanium (Ti)
C, D: calcium phosphate (CaP)/Ti
E, F: CaP/gel/Ti. Much more new bone has formed on these composite rods compared to pure titanium and CaP/Ti. The composite rods are also seen to bond to the bone directly with no intervening soft tissue.

 

Titanium (Ti) and its alloys are the most popular materials used in orthopaedic implants because of their good mechanical and chemical properties, biocompatibility, corrosion resistance and low allergenicity. One drawback, however, is that they cannot bond directly to living bone, but need to be coated with bioactive materials to improve their integration.

Calcium phosphate (CaP) and collagen are the main constituents of natural bone. Gelatine is a denatured form of collagen and because of that has excellent biodegradability and biocompatibility properties. Many organic-inorganic composites combine the advantages of the organic and inorganic components, hence a composite of CaP and gelatine may be an effective coating for Ti implants.

In a study published in the journal Science and Technology of Advanced Materials, researchers at Zhejiang University in China and Yamagata University in Japan tested a novel process for coating titanium implants with bioactive CaP/gelatine composites.

In the study, Wei-Qi Yan and colleagues implanted tiny 2mm by 10mm CaP/gel/Ti and CaP/Ti rods into the thighbone of rabbits, while pure Ti rods served as controls. Four and eight weeks following the operation, the researchers found much more new bone on the surface of the composite CaP/gel/Ti rods than in the other two groups. What’s more, the CaP/gel/Ti rods bonded to the surrounding bone directly, with no intervening soft tissue layer.

The team concluded that the CaP/gel/Ti implants not only enhanced the proliferation of stem cells and the differentiation of bone cells, but they also enhanced the ability of the implants to bond to bone. This research suggests that titanium implants coated with CaP and gelatine have great potential in clinical joint replacements or dental implants.

 

 

For further information contact:

Wei-Qi Yan
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery
School of Medicine, Zhejiang University
Hangzhou, People’s Republic of China
Email: mikewqyan@gmail.com