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Titanium coating with protein 'flower bouquet' nanoclusters strengthens implant attachment
Date:8/18/2010

d hip replacements typically last about 15 years until the components wear down or loosen. For many younger patients, this means a second surgery to replace the first artificial joint. With approximately 40 percent of the 712,000 total hip and knee replacements in the United States in 2004 performed on younger patients 45-64 years old, improving the lifetime of the titanium joints and creating a better connection with the bone becomes extremely important.

In this study, Georgia Tech School of Chemistry and Biochemistry professor David Collard and his students coated clinical-grade titanium with a high density of polymer strands -- akin to the bristles on a toothbrush. Then, Garca and Tim Petrie -- formerly a graduate student at Georgia Tech and currently a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Washington -- modified the polymer to create three or five self-assembled tethered clusters of the engineered fibronectin, which contained the arginine-glycine-aspartic acid (RGD) sequence to which integrins binds.

To evaluate the in vivo performance of the coated titanium in bone healing, the researchers drilled two-millimeter circular holes into a rat's tibia bone and pressed tiny clinical-grade titanium cylinders into the holes. The research team tested coatings that included individual strands, pairs, three-strand clusters and five-strand clusters of the engineered fibronectin protein.

"To investigate the function of these surfaces in promoting bone growth, we quantified osseointegration, or the growth of bone around the implant and strength of the attachment of the implant to the bone," explained Garca, who is also a Woodruff Faculty Fellow at Georgia Tech.

Analysis of the bone-implant interface four weeks later revealed a 50 percent enhancement in the amount of contact between the bone and implants coated with three- or five-strand tethered clusters compared to implants coated with single strands. The experiments also revealed a 75
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Contact: Abby Vogel Robinson
abby@innovate.gatech.edu
404-385-3364
Georgia Institute of Technology Research News
Source:Eurekalert  

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