The Effects of Implant Surface Nanoscale Features on Osteoblast-Specific Gene Expression

Biomaterials. 2009 Sep;30(25):4053-62. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2009.04.010. Epub 2009 May 21.


This study investigated the influence of nanoscale implant surface features on osteoblast differentiation. Titanium disks (20.0 x 1.0 mm) with different nanoscale materials were prepared using sol-gel-derived coatings and characterized by scanning electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy and analyzed by X-ray Photoelectron Spectrometer. Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells (hMSCs) were cultured on the disks for 3-28 days. The levels of ALP, BSP, Runx2, OCN, OPG, and OSX mRNA and a panel of 76 genes related to osteogenesis were evaluated. Topographical and chemical evaluation confirmed nanoscale features present on the coated surfaces only. Bone-specific mRNAs were increased on surfaces with superimposed nanoscale features compared to Machined (M) and Acid etched (Ac). At day 14, OSX mRNA levels were increased by 2-, 3.5-, 4- and 3-fold for Anatase (An), Rutile (Ru), Alumina (Al), and Zirconia (Zr), respectively. OSX expression levels for M and Ac approximated baseline levels. At days 14 and 28 the BSP relative mRNA expression was significantly up-regulated for all surfaces with nanoscale coated features (up to 45-fold increase for Al). The PCR array showed an up-regulation on Al coated implants when compared to M. An improved response of cells adhered to nanostructured-coated implant surfaces was represented by increased OSX and BSP expressions. Furthermore, nanostructured surfaces produced using aluminum oxide significantly enhanced the hMSC gene expression representative of osteoblast differentiation. Nanoscale features on Ti implant substrates may improve the osseointegration response by altering adherent cell response.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aluminum Oxide / chemistry
  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology
  • Coated Materials, Biocompatible / chemistry
  • Coated Materials, Biocompatible / metabolism
  • Gene Expression*
  • Humans
  • Materials Testing
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / cytology
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / physiology
  • Microscopy, Atomic Force
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Nanostructures*
  • Osseointegration / physiology
  • Osteoblasts / cytology
  • Osteoblasts / physiology*
  • Prostheses and Implants*
  • Surface Properties
  • Titanium / chemistry
  • Zirconium / chemistry


  • Coated Materials, Biocompatible
  • titanium dioxide
  • Zirconium
  • Titanium
  • Aluminum Oxide
  • zirconium oxide