Regulation of osteoclasts by osteoblast lineage cells depends on titanium implant surface properties

Ethan M. Lotz, Michael B. Berger, Zvi Schwartz, Barbara D. Boyan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


A critical stage during osseointegration of a titanium (Ti) implant is primary bone remodeling, which involves cross talk among osteoclast precursors, osteoclasts, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), and osteoblasts. This phase couples the processes of bone formation and resorption. During remodeling, osteoclasts produce factors capable of regulating MSC migration and osteogenesis. Furthermore, they degrade primary bone, creating a foundation with a specific chemistry, stiffness, and morphology for osteoblasts to synthesize and calcify their matrix. MSCs and osteoblasts receiving cues from the implant surface produce factors capable of regulating osteoclasts in order to promote net new bone formation. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects Ti implant surfaces have on bone remodeling. Human MSCs and normal human osteoblasts (NHOsts) were cultured separately on 15 mm grade 2 smooth PT, hydrophobic-microrough SLA, hydrophilic-microrough Ti (mSLA) (Institut Straumann AG, Basel, Switzerland), or tissue culture polystyrene (TCPS). After 7d, conditioned media from surface cultures were used to treat human osteoclasts for 2d. Activity was measured by fluorescence of released collagen followed by mRNA quantification. This study demonstrates that MSC and NHOst cultures are able to suppress osteoclast activity in a surface dependent manner and osteoclast mRNA levels are selectively regulated by surface treatments. The substrate-dependent regulatory effect was mitigated when MSCs were silenced for integrin subunits and when conditioned media were denatured. These results indicate that MSCs and NHOsts regulate at least two aspects of remodeling: reduced fusion of new osteoclasts and reduced activity of existing osteoclasts. Statement of Significance: In this study, we developed a novel in vitro model to study how microstructured and hydrophilic titanium implants impact bone remodeling for dental and orthopaedic applications. Our approach intersects biomaterials and systems physiology, revealing for the first time that implant surface properties are capable of regulating the communication among the cells involved in remodeling of primary bone during osseointegration. We believe that the basic research presented in our manuscript will provide important knowledge in our understanding of factors that impact implant success. Furthermore, it provides a solid foundation for the development of materials that enable rapid osseointegration and earlier loading times for implants in bone that has been compromised by trauma or disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)296-307
Number of pages12
JournalActa Biomaterialia
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018


  • Bone remodeling
  • Mesenchymal stem cells
  • Osteoblast
  • Osteoclast
  • Titanium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biomaterials
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Molecular Biology


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