Ultraviolet (UV)-photofunctionalization of titanium substantially enhances the strength and quality of osseointegration by promoting osteogenic cellular attachment and proliferation. However, the mechanism underlying the initial interaction between the cells and the surface of the material remains to be elucidated, especially where the influence of surface roughness is excluded as a factor. The effect of UV-photofunctionalization on the adhesive strength and cellular stiffness of a single osteoblast and its association with the extent of cell spread, cytoskeletal development and focal adhesion assembly on a very smooth titanium surface was evaluated. Rat bone marrow-derived osteoblasts were cultured on UV-treated or untreated mirror-polished titanium disks. The mean critical shear force required to initiate detachment of a single osteoblast (n = 10) was >2000 nN on a UV-treated surface at 3 h incubation, which was 17 times greater than that on an untreated surface. The mean total energy required to complete the detachment of osteoblasts (n = 10) was consistently >60 pJ on a UV-treated titanium surface after 24 h culture, which was up to 42 times greater than that on an untreated surface. Cellular shear modulus, which represents cellular stiffness, was consistently greater on a UV-treated surface than on an untreated surface after 24 h incubation (n = 10). This strengthening of cell adhesion and cellular mechanical properties on UV-treated titanium was accompanied by enhanced cell spread and actin fiber development and increased levels of vinculin expression. These results indicate that UV- photofunctionalization substantially strengthens osteoblast retention on titanium bulk material with no topographical features, and that this is associated with enhancement of intracellular structural development during the cell adhesion process.
- Shear test