Effect of strontium surface-functionalized implants on early and late osseointegration: A histological, spectrometric and tomographic evaluation

Vincent Offermanns, Ole Z Andersen, Gregor Riede, Michael Sillassen, Christian S Jeppesen, Klaus P Almtoft, Heribert Talasz, Caroline Öhman-Mägi, Bernd Lethaus, Rene Tolba, Frank Kloss, Morten Foss
Acta Biomaterialia 2018 March 15, 69: 385-394

Numerous in vivo, in vitro and clinical studies report on beneficial effects of strontium with respect to increased bone growth. Based on this knowledge the aim of this study was to evaluate early and late osseointegration stages of functionalized titanium implants showing sustained release of strontium (Sr) and further investigate its potential systemic effect. Strontium functionalized (Ti-Sr-O) and Grade 4 (Control) titanium implants were inserted in the femoral condyle of New Zealand White rabbits. The Ti-Sr-O coating was characterized using Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectrometry (EDX) for structure, coating thickness and chemical composition. Inductively Coupled Plasma Atomic Emission Spectrometry (ICP-AES) was used to evaluate released strontium in vitro while Atomic Absorption Spectrometry (AAS) was utilized to monitor serum levels of strontium and calcium. Additionally, histological and tomographic analysis of bone-to-implant contact (BIC%) and bone formation (BF%) was performed, following implantation periods of two or twelve weeks, respectively. Median values for BIC% for Ti-Sr-O revealed significant differences within the two- and twelve-week observation periods, while exceeding BF% was discovered especially after twelve weeks when performing the histological evaluation. The results from the micro-computed tomography (µ-CT) showed no significant differences, when comparing the experimental groups. AAS measurements did not indicate a systemic effect by the local strontium release. Within the limitations of the study, it was shown that a Ti-Sr-O coating with sustained release characteristics of strontium, accelerates bone apposition and represents a potential potent surface modification for endosseous medical implant devices.

STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE: This study presents first data with respect to early and late in vivo response on a strontium functionalized titanium surface comprising a nanotopography manufactured by a magnetron sputtering process. We investigated different osseointegration stages of screw-shaped implants with dental implant geometries in a rabbit femur model observing beneficial effects of the functionalized surface on bone-to-implant contact and bone formation caused by tailored release of the bone anabolic strontium. Histomorphometrical data revealed that a functionalized titanium surface with controlled liberation of strontium accelerates osseointegration while spectrometry measurements did not indicate a potential systemic effect of this osteoinductive agent and could thus have impact on modifications of medical implant devices.

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