Improving Osteoblast Response In Vitro by a Nanostructured Thin Film with Titanium Carbide and Titanium Oxides Clustered around Graphitic Carbon
Introduction Recently, we introduced a new deposition method, based on Ion Plating Plasma Assisted technology, to coat titanium implants with a thin but hard nanostructured layer composed of titanium carbide and titanium oxides, clustered around graphitic carbon. The nanostructured layer has a double effect: protects the bulk titanium against the harsh conditions of biological tissues and in the same time has a stimulating action on osteoblasts. Results The aim of this work is to describe the biological effects of this layer on osteoblasts cultured in vitro. We demonstrate that the nanostructured layer causes an overexpression of many early genes correlated to proteins involved in bone turnover and an increase in the number of surface receptors for alpha 3 beta 1 integrin, talin, paxillin. Analyses at single-cell level, by scanning electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy, and single cell force spectroscopy, show how the proliferation, adhesion and spreading of cells cultured on coated titanium samples are higher than on uncoated titanium ones. Finally, the chemistry of the layer induces a better formation of blood clots and a higher number of adhered platelets, compared to the uncoated cases, and these are useful features to improve the speed of implant osseointegration. Conclusion In summary, the nanostructured TiC film, due to its physical and chemical properties, can be used to protect the implants and to improve their acceptance by the bone.