Effects of metal ions on white blood cells of patients with failed total joint arthroplasties

L Savarino, D Granchi, G Ciapetti, S Stea, M E Donati, G Zinghi, G Fontanesi, R Rotini, L Montanaro
Journal of Biomedical Materials Research 1999 December 15, 47 (4): 543-50
In this study twenty-two patients who had revision surgery for aseptic loosening of joint prostheses were examined. The concentration in serum of soluble products of corrosion from the implant, that is, chromium (Cr), cobalt (Co), and nickel (Ni) ions, and the number of white blood cells (leucocytes, myeloid cells, lymphocyte subpopulations) were measured. Twenty patients with no implants were used as controls. The patients who had revision surgery showed normal Ni concentration whereas by statistical analysis that same patient group was shown to have serum Cr and Co levels significantly higher than those of the control. By flow cytometry, a significant decrease of leucocytes, myeloid cells, lymphocytes, and CD16 populations as found in patients versus controls whereas CD3, CD4, CD8, and CD20 positive cells were decreased, but not significantly. In the arthroplasty patients the Cr concentrations were inversely correlated with some of the immunologic parameters while no significant correlation was found between Co levels and decreased lymphocyte subpopulations. Only in revision surgery patients with high Cr concentrations did we find a significant decrease of lymphocytes, namely of CD4 and CD16 positive cells; revision surgery patients with normal Cr concentrations did not show a significant decrease of lymphocyte subpopulations. These data suggest that the presence of metal ions, especially chromium, released from prosthesis components could be associated with changes of lymphocyte subpopulations in patients with loosening of joint prostheses.

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