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Biofunctionalization of dental abutments by a zinc/chitosan/gelatin coating to optimize fibroblast behavior and antibacterial properties.

Tightly sealed peri-implant gingival tissue provides a barrier against oral bacterial invasion, protecting the alveolar bone and maintaining long-term implant survival. To investigate if zinc can enhance the integration between peri-implant gingival tissue and abutment surface, we herein present novel zinc/chitosan/gelatin (Zn/CS/Gel) coatings prepared using the electrophoretic deposition (EPD) technique. The effect of these coatings on human gingival fibroblasts (hGFs) was investigated by culturing these cells on top of the EPD coatings. Surface characterization demonstrated that Zn2+ were released in a sustained and pH-responsive manner. The preclinical cell culture evaluation of these coatings indicated that the zinc-containing coatings enhanced cell migration, adhesion and collagen secretion of hGFs. Moreover, the zinc-containing coatings exhibited antibacterial efficacy by inhibiting the growth of Porphyromonas gingivalis and reducing attachment of Staphylococcus aureus. Notably, zinc-free CS/Gel coatings prevented attachment of P. gingivalis as well. The coatings were also shown to be cytocompatible with epithelial cells and osteoblasts, which are other relevant cell types which surround dental implants after clinical placement. Based on our findings, it can be concluded that Zn-containing coatings hold promise to enhance the adhesion of gingival tissue to the implant surface, which may potentially contribute to the formation of a robust peri-implant soft sealing counteracting bacterial invasion.

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