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Int J Nanomedicine. 2013;8:1773-81. doi: 10.2147/IJN.S39031. Epub 2013 May 6.

Nanostructured magnesium has fewer detrimental effects on osteoblast function.

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  • 1School of Engineering and Department of Orthopedics, Brown University, Providence, RI, USA.


Efforts have been made recently to implement nanoscale surface features on magnesium, a biodegradable metal, to increase bone formation. Compared with normal magnesium, nanostructured magnesium has unique characteristics, including increased grain boundary properties, surface to volume ratio, surface roughness, and surface energy, which may influence the initial adsorption of proteins known to promote the function of osteoblasts (bone-forming cells). Previous studies have shown that one way to increase nanosurface roughness on magnesium is to soak the metal in NaOH. However, it has not been determined if degradation of magnesium is altered by creating nanoscale features on its surface to influence osteoblast density. The aim of the present in vitro study was to determine the influence of degradation of nanostructured magnesium, created by soaking in NaOH, on osteoblast density. Our results showed a less detrimental effect of magnesium degradation on osteoblast density when magnesium was treated with NaOH to create nanoscale surface features. The detrimental degradation products of magnesium are of significant concern when considering use of magnesium as an orthopedic implant material, and this study identified a surface treatment, ie, soaking in NaOH to create nanoscale features for magnesium that can improve its use in numerous orthopedic applications.


degradation; detrimental effects; nanostructured magnesium; osteoblasts

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