Alumina ceramic particles, in comparison with titanium particles, hardly affect the expression of RANK-, TNF-alpha-, and OPG-mRNA in the THP-1 human monocytic cell line

J Biomed Mater Res A. 2009 Jun;89(3):707-16. doi: 10.1002/jbm.a.31956.


Particle-induced osteolysis is the most frequent cause of aseptic loosening after total joint replacement. We performed a study to illuminate the effect of ceramic particles with different diameters and concentrations on the mRNA expression of certain key regulators in particle-induced aseptic osteolysis (RANK, RANKL, OPG, and TNF-alpha) in THP-1 macrophage-like cells. Titanium particles were used as a positive control. RNA was analyzed by quantitative RTPCR. Our results demonstrate that alumina ceramic particles, regardless of particle size, caused only slight upregulations of RANK, TNF-alpha, and OPG mRNA, whose levels were significantly lower in comparison with those of titanium particles (p < 0.05). The continuous increasing tendency to time and particle-dependent mRNA expression of all the parameters stimulated by titanium particles was not found after stimulation with ceramic materials. Even after the concentration of ceramic particles was increased, only a mild upregulation of mRNA expression was found. Furthermore, we observed that the bioinert properties of ceramic particles did not change much in diameters ranging from 0.5 to 1.5 microm. At most of the measuring time points, there was no significant difference between the reactions of the large and small particles in this range. Our results support the theory about the relative bioinert properties of alumina ceramic particles.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aluminum Oxide / pharmacology*
  • Cell Line
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Monocytes / drug effects
  • Monocytes / metabolism*
  • Osteoprotegerin / genetics*
  • Osteoprotegerin / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Receptor Activator of Nuclear Factor-kappa B / genetics*
  • Receptor Activator of Nuclear Factor-kappa B / metabolism
  • Titanium / pharmacology*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / genetics*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism


  • Osteoprotegerin
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptor Activator of Nuclear Factor-kappa B
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Titanium
  • Aluminum Oxide