Involvement of FAK/P38 Signaling Pathways in Mediating the Enhanced Osteogenesis Induced by Nano-Graphene Oxide Modification on Titanium Implant Surface
Qingfan Li,1,2 Zuolin Wang1,2
1Shanghai Engineering Research Center of Tooth Restoration and Regeneration, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China; 2Department of Oral Implant, School of Stomatology, Hospital of Stomatology, Tongji University, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China
Correspondence: Zuolin Wang
Shanghai Engineering Research Center of Tooth Restoration and Regeneration, Department of Oral Implant, School of Stomatology, Tongji University, 399 Yanchang Road, Shanghai 200072, People’s Republic of China
Background: Titanium implants are widely used in dental and orthopedic medicine. Nevertheless, there is limited osteoinductive capability of titanium leading to a poor or delayed osseointegration, which might cause the failure of the implant therapy. Therefore, appropriate modification on the titanium surface for promoting osseointegration of existing implants is still pursued.
Purpose: Graphene oxide (GO) is a promising candidate to perform implant surface biofunctionalization for modulating the interactions between implant surface and cells. So the objective of this study was to fabricate a bioactive GO-modified titanium implant surface with excellent osteoinductive potential and further investigate the underlying biological mechanisms.
Materials and Methods: The large particle sandblasting and acid etching (SLA, commonly used in clinical practice) surface as a control group was first developed and then the nano-GO was deposited on the SLA surface via an ultrasonic atomization spraying technique to create the SLA/GO group. Their effects on rat bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs) responsive behaviors were assessed in vitro, and the underlying biological mechanisms were further systematically investigated. Moreover, the osteogenesis performance in vivo was also evaluated.
Results: The results showed that GO coating was fabricated on the titanium substrates successfully, which endowed SLA surface with the improved hydrophilicity and protein adsorption capacity. Compared with the SLA surface, the GO-modified surface favored cell adhesion and spreading, and significantly improved cell proliferation and osteogenic differentiation of BMSCs in vitro. Furthermore, the FAK/P38 signaling pathways were proven to be involved in the enhanced osteogenic differentiation of BMSCs, accompanied by the upregulated expression of focal adhesion (vinculin) on the GO coated surface. The enhanced bone regeneration ability of GO-modified implants when inserted into rat femurs was also observed and confirmed that the GO coating induced accelerated osseointegration and osteogenesis in vivo.
Conclusion: GO modification on titanium implant surface has potential applications for achieving rapid bone-implant integration through the mediation of FAK/P38 signaling pathways.
Keywords: graphene oxide, SLA, titanium implant, osteogenic differentiation, osseointegration, cell signaling pathways
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