The roles of titanium surface micro/nanotopography and wettability on the differential response of human osteoblast lineage cells

Rolando A. Gittens, Rene Olivares-Navarrete, Alice Cheng, David M. Anderson, Taylor McLachlan, Ingrid Stephan, Jürgen Geis-Gerstorfer, Kenneth H. Sandhage, Andrei G. Fedorov, Frank Rupp, Barbara D. Boyan, Rina Tannenbaum, Zvi Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

189 Scopus citations


Surface micro- and nanostructural modifications of dental and orthopedic implants have shown promising in vitro, in vivo and clinical results. Surface wettability has also been suggested to play an important role in osteoblast differentiation and osseointegration. However, the available techniques to measure surface wettability are not reliable on clinically relevant, rough surfaces. Furthermore, how the differentiation state of osteoblast lineage cells impacts their response to micro/nanostructured surfaces, and the role of wettability on this response, remain unclear. In the current study, surface wettability analyses (optical sessile drop analysis, environmental scanning electron microscopic analysis and the Wilhelmy technique) indicated hydrophobic static responses for deposited water droplets on microrough and micro/nanostructured specimens, while hydrophilic responses were observed with dynamic analyses of micro/nanostructured specimens. The maturation and local factor production of human immature osteoblast-like MG63 cells was synergistically influenced by nanostructures superimposed onto microrough titanium (Ti) surfaces. In contrast, human mesenchymal stem cells cultured on micro/nanostructured surfaces in the absence of exogenous soluble factors exhibited less robust osteoblastic differentiation and local factor production compared to cultures on unmodified microroughened Ti. Our results support previous observations using Ti6Al4V surfaces showing that recognition of surface nanostructures and subsequent cell response is dependent on the differentiation state of osteoblast lineage cells. The results also indicate that this effect may be partly modulated by surface wettability. These findings support the conclusion that the successful osseointegration of an implant depends on contributions from osteoblast lineage cells at different stages of osteoblast commitment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6268-6277
Number of pages10
JournalActa Biomaterialia
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2013


  • Bone osseointegration
  • Commercially pure grade 2 titanium implants
  • Dynamic contact angle
  • Mesenchymal stem cell differentiation
  • Nanostructures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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