Effects of pico-to-nanometer-thin TiO 2 coating on the biological properties of microroughened titanium

Yoshihiko Sugita, Ken Ishizaki, Fuminori Iwasa, Takeshi Ueno, Hajime Minamikawa, Masahiro Yamada, Takeo Suzuki, Takahiro Ogawa

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63 Citations (Scopus)


The independent, genuine role of surface chemistry in the biological properties of titanium is unknown. Although microtopography has been established as a standard surface feature in osseous titanium implants, unfavorable behavior and reactions of osteogenic cells are still observed on the surfaces. To further enhance the biological properties of microfeatured titanium surfaces, this study tested the hypotheses that (1) the surface chemistry of microroughened titanium surfaces can be controllably varied by coating with a very thin layer of TiO 2, without altering the existing topographical and roughness features; and (2) the change in the surface chemistry affects the biological properties of the titanium substrates. Using a slow-rate sputter deposition of molten TiO 2 nanoparticles, acid-etched microroughened titanium surfaces were coated with a TiO 2 layer of 300-pm to 6.3-nm thickness that increased the surface oxygen levels without altering the existing microtopography. The attachment, spreading behavior, and proliferation of osteoblasts, which are considered to be significantly impaired on microroughened surfaces compared with relatively smooth surfaces, were considerably increased on TiO 2-coated microroughened surfaces. The rate of osteoblastic differentiation was represented by the increased levels of alkaline phosphatase activity and mineral deposition as well as by the upregulated expression of bone-related genes. These biological effects were exponentially correlated with the thickness of TiO 2 and surface oxygen percentage, implying that even a picometer-thin TiO 2 coating is effective in rapidly increasing the biological property of titanium followed by an additional mild increase or plateau induced by a nanometer-thick coating. These data suggest that a super-thin TiO 2 coating of pico-to-nanometer thickness enhances the biological properties of the proven microroughened titanium surfaces by controllably and exclusively modulating their surface chemistry while preserving the existing surface morphology. The improvements in proliferation and differentiation of osteoblasts attained by this chemical modification is of great significance, providing a new insight into how to develop new implant surfaces for better osseointegration, based on the established microtopographic surfaces.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8374-8384
Number of pages11
Issue number33
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Nov


  • Bone-implant integration
  • Microtopography
  • Molten Ti
  • Osseointegration
  • Sputter deposition


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