A multifaceted biomimetic interface to improve the longevity of orthopedic implants

Croes, Michiel, Akhavan, Behnam, Sharifahmadian, Omid, Fan, Haiyang, Mertens, Raya, Tan, Richard P., Chunara, Aliza, Fadzil, Arifah A., Wise, Steven G., Kruyt, Moyo C., Wijdicks, Sebastiaan, Hennink, Wim E., Bilek, Marcela M.M. & Amin Yavari, Saber

Published: 01/01/2020


The rise of additive manufacturing has provided a paradigm shift in the fabrication of precise, patient-specific implants that replicate the physical properties of native bone. However, eliciting an optimal biological response from such materials for rapid bone integration remains a challenge. Here we propose for the first time a one-step ion-assisted plasma polymerization process to create bio-functional 3D printed titanium (Ti) implants that offer rapid bone integration. Using selective laser melting, porous Ti implants with enhanced bone-mimicking mechanical properties were fabricated. The implants were functionalized uniformly with a highly reactive, radical-rich polymeric coating generated using a unique combination of plasma polymerization and plasma immersion ion implantation. We demonstrated the performance of such activated Ti implants with a focus on the coating’s homogeneity, stability, and biological functionality. It was shown that the optimized coating was highly robust and possessed superb physico-chemical stability in a corrosive physiological solution. The plasma activated coating was cytocompatible and non-immunogenic; and through its high reactivity, it allowed for easy, one-step covalent immobilization of functional biomolecules in the absence of solvents or chemicals. The activated Ti implants bio-functionalized with bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP-2) showed a reduced protein desorption and a more sustained osteoblast response both in vitro and in vivo compared to implants modified through conventional physisorption of BMP-2. The versatile new approach presented here will enable the development of bio-functionalized additively manufactured implants that are patient-specific and offer improved integration with host tissue.

Statement of Significance
Additive manufacturing has revolutionized the fabrication of patient-specific orthopedic implants. Although such 3D printed implants can show desirable mechanical and mass transport properties, they often require surface bio-functionalities to enable control over the biological response. Surface covalent immobilization of bioactive molecules is a viable approach to achieve this. Here we report the development of additively manufactured titanium implants that precisely replicate the physical properties of native bone and are bio-functionalized in a simple, reagent-free step. Our results show that covalent attachment of bone-related growth factors through ion-assisted plasma polymerized interlayers circumvents their desorption in physiological solution and significantly improves the bone induction by the implants both in vitro and in vivo.

Full Access Link: Acta Biomaterialia