In vivo assessment of a new multifunctional coating architecture for improved Mg alloy biocompatibility

Biomed Mater. 2016 Aug 10;11(4):045007. doi: 10.1088/1748-6041/11/4/045007.


Magnesium alloys are regarded as potential biodegradable load-bearing biomaterials for orthopedic applications due to their physico-chemical and biomechanical properties. However, their clinical applicability is restricted by their high degradation rate, which limits the physiological reconstruction of the neighbouring tissues. In this work, a multifunctional coating architecture was developed on an AZ31 alloy by conjoining an anodization process with the deposition of a polymeric-based layer consisting of polyether imine reinforced with hydroxyapatite nanoparticles, aiming at improved control of the corrosion activity and biological performance of the Mg substrate. Anodization and coating protocols were evaluated either independently or combined for corrosion resistance and biological behaviour, i.e. the irritation potential and angiogenic capability within a chicken chorioallantoic membrane assay, and bone tissue response following tibia implantation within a rabbit model. Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) analysis showed that coated Mg constructs, particularly anodized plus coated with AZ31, exhibited excellent stability compared to the anodized alloy and, particularly, to the bare AZ31. Microtomographic evaluation of the implanted samples correlated with these degradation results. Mg constructs displayed a non-irritating behaviour, and were associated with high levels of vascular ingrowth. Bone ingrowth neighbouring the implanted constructs was observed for all samples, with coated and anodized plus coated samples presenting the highest bone formation. Gene expression analysis suggested that the enhanced bone tissue formation was associated with the boost in osteogenic activity through Runx2 upregulation, following the activation of PGC-1α/ERRα signaling. Overall, the developed multifunctional coatings appear to be a promising strategy to obtain safe and bioactive biodegradable Mg-based implants with potential applications within bone tissue.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absorbable Implants
  • Alloys / chemistry*
  • Animals
  • Chickens
  • Chorioallantoic Membrane / metabolism
  • Coated Materials, Biocompatible / chemistry*
  • Corrosion
  • Durapatite / chemistry
  • Electric Impedance
  • Electrochemistry
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Magnesium / chemistry*
  • Male
  • Materials Testing
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic
  • Polymers / chemistry
  • Rabbits
  • Signal Transduction
  • Spectrum Analysis
  • Tibia / pathology


  • Alloys
  • Coated Materials, Biocompatible
  • Polymers
  • Durapatite
  • Magnesium