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Biomaterials. 2011 Jan;32(3):693-705. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2010.09.066. Epub 2010 Oct 20.

Biological actions of silver nanoparticles embedded in titanium controlled by micro-galvanic effects.

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State Key Laboratory of High Performance Ceramics and Superfine Microstructure, Shanghai Institute of Ceramics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, China.


Titanium embedded with silver nanoparticles (Ag NPs) using a single step silver plasma immersion ion implantation (Ag-PIII) demonstrate micro-galvanic effects that give rise to both controlled antibacterial activity and excellent compatibility with osteoblasts. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) shows that nanoparticles with average sizes of about 5 nm and 8 nm are formed homogeneously on the titanium surface after undergoing Ag-PIII for 0.5 h and 1 h, respectively. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) indicate that those nanoparticles are metallic silver produced on and underneath the titanium surface via a local nucleation process from the solid solution of α-Ti(Ag). The Ag-PIII samples inhibit the growth of both Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli while enhancing proliferation of the osteoblast-like cell line MG63. Electrochemical polarization and Zeta potential measurements demonstrate that the low surface toxicity and good cytocompatibility are related to the micro-galvanic effect between the Ag NPs and titanium matrix. Our results show that the physico-chemical properties of the Ag NPs are important in the control of the cytotoxicity and this study opens a new window for the design of nanostructured surfaces on which the biological actions of the Ag NPs can be accurately tailored.

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