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J Biomed Mater Res. 2000 Feb;49(2):192-9.

Striated muscle microvascular response to silver implants: A comparative in vivo study with titanium and stainless steel.

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Department of Orthopedics, University of Bonn, 53105 Bonn, Germany.


Local microvascular perfusion is the primary line of defense of tissue against microorganisms and plays a considerable role in reparative processes. The impairment of the microcirculation by a biomaterial may therefore have profound consequences. Silver is known to have excellent antimicrobial activity and, although regional and systemic toxic effects have been described, silver is regularly discussed as an implant material in bone surgery. Because little is known about the influence of silver implants on the adjacent host tissue microvasculature, we studied in vivo nutritive perfusion and leukocytic response, and compared these results with those of the conventionally used materials titanium and stainless steel. Using the hamster dorsal skinfold chamber preparation and intravital microscopy, the implantation of a commercially pure silver sample led to a distinct and persistent activation of leukocytes combined with a marked disruption of the microvascular endothelial integrity, massive leukocyte extravasation, and considerable venular dilation. Whereas animals with stainless-steel implants showed a moderate increase in these parameters with a tendency to recuperate, titanium implants caused only a transient increase of leukocyte-endothelial cell interaction within the first 120 min and no significant change in macromolecular leakage, leukocyte extravasation and venular diameter. After 3 days, five of six preparations with silver samples showed severe inflammation and massive edema. Thus, the use of silver as an implant material should be critically judged despite its bactericidal properties. The implant material titanium seems to be well tolerated by the local vascular system and currently represents the golden standard.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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