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Partially Melted Ti6Al4V Particles Increase Bacterial Adhesion and Inhibit Osteogenic Activity on 3D-printed Implants: An In Vitro Study

Xie, Kai MD; Guo, Yu MD; Zhao, Shuang MD; Wang, Lei MD; Wu, Junxiang MD; Tan, Jia MD; Yang, Yangzi MD; Wu, Wen MD; Jiang, Wenbo PhD; Hao, Yongqiang MD, PhD

Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research: December 2019 - Volume 477 - Issue 12 - p 2772-2782
doi: 10.1097/CORR.0000000000000954
BASIC RESEARCH
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Background A porous Ti6Al4V implant that is manufactured using selective laser melting (SLM) has broad potential applications in the field of orthopaedic implants. The pore structure of the SLM porous Ti6Al4V implant allows for cell migration and osteogenic differentiation, which is favorable for bone ingrowth and osseointegration. However, it is unclear whether the pore structure and partially melted Ti6Al4V particles on a SLM porous Ti6Al4V implant will increase bacterial adhesion and, perhaps, the risk of implant-related infection.

Questions/purposes (1) Is there more bacterial adhesion and colonization on SLM porous Ti6Al4V implants than on polished orthopaedic implants? (2) Do partially melted Ti6Al4V particles on SLM porous Ti6Al4V implants reduce human bone mesenchymal stem cells (hBMSCs) adhesion, viability, and activity?

Methods To determine bacterial adhesion and biofilm formation, we incubated five different Ti6Al4V discs (polished, grit-blasted, plasma-sprayed, particle SLM porous, and nonparticle SLM porous discs) with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Escherichia coli. Bacterial coverage on the surface of the five different Ti6Al4V discs were evaluated based on scanning electron microscopy (SEM) images quantitatively. In addition, a spread-plate method was used to quantitatively evaluate the bacterial adhesion on those implants. The biofilm formation was stained with crystal violet and semi-quantitatively determined with a microplate reader. The morphology and adhesion of hBMSCs on the five Ti6Al4V discs were observed with SEM. The cell viability was quantitatively evaluated with a Cell Counting Kit-8 assay. In addition, the osteogenic activity was determined in vitro with a quantitatively alkaline phosphatase activity assay and alizarin-red staining. For semiquantitative analysis, the alizarin-red stained mineralized nodules were dissolved and determined with a microplate reader.

Results The polished discs had the lowest MRSA adhesion (8.3% ± 2.6%) compared with grit-blasted (19.1% ± 3.9%; p = 0.006), plasma-sprayed (38.5% ± 5.3%; p < 0.001), particle (23.1% ± 2.8%; p < 0.001), and nonparticle discs (15.7% ± 2.5%; p = 0.003). Additionally, when comparing the two SLM discs, we found that particle discs had higher bacterial coverage than nonparticle discs (23.1% ± 2.8% versus 15.7% ± 2.5%; p = 0.020). An E. coli analysis showed similar results, with the higher adhesion to particle SLM discs than to nonparticle discs (20.7% ± 4.2% versus 14.4% ± 3.6%; p = 0.011). In addition, on particle SLM porous discs, bacterial colonies were localized around the partially melted Ti6Al4V particles, based on SEM images. After a 7-day incubation period, the cell viability in the particle group (optical density value 0.72 ± 0.05) was lower than that in the nonparticle groups (optical density value: 0.87 ± 0.08; p = 0.003). Alkaline phosphatase activity, as a marker of osteogenic differentiation, was lower in the particle group than in the nonparticle group (1.32 ± 0.12 U/mL versus 1.58 ± 0.09 U/mL; p = 0.012).

Conclusion Higher bacterial adhesion was observed on SLM porous discs than on polished discs. The partially melted Ti6Al4V particles on SLM porous discs not only enhanced bacterial adhesion but also inhibited the osteogenic activity of hBMSCs. Postprocessing treatment is necessary to remove partially melted Ti6Al4V particles on an SLM implant before further use. Additional studies are needed to determine whether an SLM porous Ti6Al4V implant increases the risk of implant-related infection in vivo.

Clinical Relevance As implants with porous Ti6Al4V made using SLM are being designed, our preliminary findings suggest that postprocessing treatment is needed to remove partially melted Ti6Al4V particles before further use. In addition, the depth of the porous structure of the SLM implant should not exceed the maximum depth of bone ingrowth because the host immune defense cannot prevent bacterial adhesion without integration.

K. Xie, Y. Guo, S. Zhao, L. Wang, J. Wu, J. Tan, Y. Yang, W. Wu, Y. Hao, Shanghai Key Laboratory of Orthopaedic Implants, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Shanghai Ninth People's Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, China

W. Jiang, Y. Hao, Clinical and Translational Research Center for 3D Printing Technology, Shanghai Ninth People's Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, China

Y. Hao, Shanghai Key Laboratory of Orthopaedic Implants, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Shanghai Ninth People's Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, 639 Zhizaoju Road, Shanghai 200011, China, Email: hyq_9hospital@hotmail.com

Each author certifies that he or she has no commercial associations (consultancies, stock ownership, equity interest, patent/licensing arrangements, etc.) that might pose a conflict of interest in connection with the submitted article.

All ICMJE Conflict of Interest Forms for authors and Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research® editors and board members are on file with the publication and can be viewed on request.

Each author certifies that his or her institution approved the human protocol for this investigation and that all investigations were conducted in conformity with ethical principles of research.

This work was performed at Shanghai Key Laboratory of Orthopaedic Implants, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Shanghai Ninth People's Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, China.

© 2019 by the Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons
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