Osteointegration of titanium implant is sensitive to specific nanostructure morphology.
ABSTRACT An important aspect of orthopedic implant integration is the enhancement of functional activity of osteoblasts at the tissue-implant interface without any fibrous tissue intervention. Nanostructured implant surfaces are known to enhance osteoblast activity. Previously, we have reported a simple hydrothermal method for the fabrication of non-periodic nanostructures (nanoscaffold, nanoleaves and nanoneedles) on titanium implants showing good biocompatibility and a distinct osteoblast response in vitro in terms of osteoblast adhesion to the surface. In the present work, these nanostructures have been evaluated for their detailed in vitro cellular response as well as in vivo osteointegration. Our studies showed that a specific surface nanomorphology, viz. nanoleaves, which is a network of vertically aligned, non-periodic, leaf-like structures with thickness in the nanoscale, provided a distinct increase in osteoblast cell proliferation, alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity and collagen synthesis compared to several other types of nanomorphology, such as nanotubes, nanoscaffold and nanoneedles (rods). Gene expression analysis of ALP, osteocalcin, collagen, decorin and Runx2 showed ~20- to 40-fold up-regulation on the leaf-like topography. Cytoskeletal arrangement studies on this substrate again revealed a unique response with favorable intracellular protein expressions of vinculin, FAK and src. In vivo osteointegration study over 12 weeks on rat model (Sprague-Dawley) showed early-stage bone formation (60% bone contact by week 2 and ~85% by week 8, p<0.01) in the leaf-like nanopattern, without any inflammatory cytokine production.