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J Biomed Mater Res. 2000 Nov;52(2):413-21.

Protein adsorption and platelet attachment and activation, on TiN, TiC, and DLC coatings on titanium for cardiovascular applications.

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  • 1Division of Materials, School of Mechanical, Materials, Manufacturing Engineering and Management, University of Nottingham, Nottingham NG7 2RD, United Kingdom.


The hemocompatibility of a TiN/TiC/diamond-like carbon (DLC) multilayer structure, deposited on titanium substrates for use as coatings for a heart valve prosthesis, has been studied through the adsorption of blood proteins and the adhesion and attachment of blood platelets. All of the surfaces were characterized by stylus profilometry and water contact angles. The adsorption of albumin and fibrinogen to the surfaces was assessed using the Amido Black assay, whereas platelet attachment was studied by scanning electron microscopy and quantified using stereological techniques. The degree of platelet spreading on the surfaces was seen to correlate with differences in surface energy, indicated from contact angle measurements. The greatest spreading was seen on the more hydrophilic surfaces. When studying protein adsorption to the surfaces, no correlation could be determined between contact angle results and levels of adsorption, although the most hydrophilic surfaces did appear to promote greater amounts of fibrinogen adsorption. Thrombus formation was observed to some degree on all of the surfaces, with the exception of the DLC coating. This coating also promoted less spreading of platelets than the other surfaces. The good hemocompatibility of the DLC coating is attributed to its hydrophobicity and smooth surface, resulting in a higher ratio of albumin to fibrinogen than any of the other surfaces.

Copyright 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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