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Atomic layer deposition of nano-TiOthin films with enhanced biocompatibility and antimicrobial activity for orthopedic implants

Authors Liu L, Bhatia R, Webster TJ

Received 2 August 2017

Accepted for publication 9 October 2017

Published 8 December 2017 Volume 2017:12 Pages 8711—8723


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Carlos Rinaldi

Luting Liu,1 Ritwik Bhatia,2 Thomas J Webster1,3

1Department of Chemical Engineering, Northeastern University, Boston, 2Ultratech Inc., Waltham, MA, USA; 3Wenzhou Institute of Biomaterials and Engineering, Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou, People’s Republic of China

Abstract: Titanium (Ti) and its alloys have been extensively used as implant materials in orthopedic applications. Nevertheless, implants may fail due to a lack of osseointegration and/or infection. The aim of this in vitro study was to endow an implant surface with favorable biological properties by the dual modification of surface chemistry and nanostructured topography. The application of a nanostructured titanium dioxide (TiO2) coating on Ti-based implants has been proposed as a potential way to enhance tissue-implant interactions while inhibiting bacterial colonization simultaneously due to its chemical stability, biocompatibility, and antimicrobial properties. In this paper, temperature-controlled atomic layer deposition (ALD) was introduced for the first time to provide unique nanostructured TiO2 coatings on Ti substrates. The effect of nano-TiO2 coatings with different morphology and structure on human osteoblast and fibroblast functions and bacterial activities was investigated. In vitro results indicated that the TiO2 coating stimulated osteoblast adhesion and proliferation while suppressing fibroblast adhesion and proliferation compared to uncoated materials. In addition, the introduction of nano-TiO2 coatings was shown to inhibit gram-positive bacteria (Staphylococcus aureus), gram-negative bacteria (Escherichia coli), and antibiotic-resistant bacteria (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), all without resorting to the use of antibiotics. Our results suggest that the increase in nanoscale roughness and greater surface hydrophilicity (surface energy) together could contribute to increased protein adsorption selectively, which may affect the cellular and bacterial activities. It was found that ALD-grown TiO2-coated samples with a moderate surface energy at 38.79 mJ/m2 showed relatively promising antibacterial properties and desirable cellular functions. The ALD technique provides a novel and effective strategy to produce TiO2 coatings with delicate control of surface nanotopography and surface energy to enhance the interfacial biocompatibility and mitigate bacterial infection, and could potentially be used for improving numerous orthopedic implants.

Keywords: atomic layer deposition, titanium dioxide, nanostructure, osteoblast, fibroblast, antimicrobial activity

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