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J Biomed Mater Res A. 2013 Jun;101(6):1588-98. doi: 10.1002/jbm.a.34473. Epub 2012 Nov 9.

In vitro osteoblast response to ferritic stainless steel fiber networks for magneto-active layers on implants.

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Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom.


The use of a porous coating on prosthetic components to encourage bone ingrowth is an important way of improving uncemented implant fixation. Enhanced fixation may be achieved by the use of porous magneto-active layers on the surface of prosthetic implants, which would deform elastically on application of a magnetic field, generating internal stresses within the in-growing bone. This approach requires a ferromagnetic material able to support osteoblast attachment, proliferation, differentiation, and mineralization. In this study, the human osteoblast responses to ferromagnetic 444 stainless steel networks were considered alongside those to nonmagnetic 316L (medical grade) stainless steel networks. While both networks had similar porosities, 444 networks were made from coarser fibers, resulting in larger inter-fiber spaces. The networks were analyzed for cell morphology, distribution, proliferation, and differentiation, extracellular matrix production and the formation of mineralized nodules. Cell culture was performed in both the presence of osteogenic supplements, to encourage cell differentiation, and in their absence. It was found that fiber size affected osteoblast morphology, cytoskeleton organization and proliferation at the early stages of culture. The larger inter-fiber spaces in the 444 networks resulted in better spatial distribution of the extracellular matrix. The addition of osteogenic supplements enhanced cell differentiation and reduced cell proliferation thereby preventing the differences in proliferation observed in the absence of osteogenic supplements. The results demonstrated that 444 networks elicited favorable responses from human osteoblasts, and thus show potential for use as magnetically active porous coatings for advanced bone implant applications.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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