Rescuing failed oral implants via Wnt activation

J Clin Periodontol. 2016 Feb;43(2):180-92. doi: 10.1111/jcpe.12503. Epub 2016 Feb 12.


Aim: Implant osseointegration is not always guaranteed and once fibrous encapsulation occurs clinicians have few options other than implant removal. Our goal was to test whether a WNT protein therapeutic could rescue such failed implants.

Material and methods: Titanium implants were placed in over-sized murine oral osteotomies. A lack of primary stability was verified by mechanical testing. Interfacial strains were estimated by finite element modelling and histology coupled with histomorphometry confirmed the lack of peri-implant bone. After fibrous encapsulation was established peri-implant injections of a liposomal formulation of WNT3A protein (L-WNT3A) or liposomal PBS (L-PBS) were then initiated. Quantitative assays were employed to analyse the effects of L-WNT3A treatment.

Results: Implants in gap-type interfaces exhibited high interfacial strains and no primary stability. After verification of implant failure, L-WNT3A or L-PBS injections were initiated. L-WNT3A induced a rapid, significant increase in Wnt responsiveness in the peri-implant environment, cell proliferation and osteogenic protein expression. The amount of peri-implant bone and bone in contact with the implant were significantly higher in L-WNT3A cases.

Conclusions: These data demonstrate L-WNT3A can induce peri-implant bone formation even in cases where fibrous encapsulation predominates.

Keywords: biomechanics; fibrosis; finite element analysis; osseointegration; osteogenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dental Implants*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Osseointegration
  • Osteogenesis
  • Surface Properties
  • Titanium
  • Wnt Proteins


  • Dental Implants
  • Wnt Proteins
  • Titanium