Surface Phenomena Enhancing the Antibacterial and Osteogenic Ability of Nanocrystalline Hydroxyapatite, Activated by Multiple-Ion Doping

ACS Biomater Sci Eng. 2019 Nov 11;5(11):5947-5959. doi: 10.1021/acsbiomaterials.9b00893. Epub 2019 Oct 8.


The present work describes a novel nanocrystalline, multidoped hydroxyapatite featuring excellent eukaryotic versus prokaryotic cell selectivity, attested by excellent osteoinductive character and evaluated with human stem cells, and anti-infective ability, tested against different pathogens. Physicochemical analysis and transmission electron microscopy (TEM)/scanning STEM observations highlighted that such enhanced biological features are related to the lower crystallinity level and increased surface charge of hydroxyapatite, both induced by multiple-ion doping. Specifically, the lattice substitution of Ca2+ with Zn2+ promotes the segregation of Ca2+ and doping Mg2+ cations to a less-ordered surface layer, thus promoting dynamic ion absorption/release acting as bioactive signals for cells and exerting an antiproliferative effect on all tested pathogens. These findings open the design of new biodevices, combining regenerative ability and effective microbial inhibition without using any antibiotic drugs. This is extremely important to circumvent bacterial resistance to antibiotics, which is today considered as one of the biggest threats to global health.

Keywords: antimicrobial effect; bone regeneration; ion exchange; magnesium; nanocrystalline apatites; zinc.