Poly(ether ether ketone) (PEEK) is a high-performance thermoplastic used for several industrial applications due to its excellent mechanical properties. However, the use of PEEK is limited to dental materials because of its poor implant-bone integration. In the present study, methylated polyrotaxanes (MePRXs) with 4-vinylbenzyl groups, which are supermolecules composed of methylated α-cyclodextrins and poly(ethylene glycol) chains end-capped with 4-vinylbenzyl groups, were covalently tethered onto PEEK surfaces using photo-induced polymerization to improve their osteoblast compatibility. The surface-tethering of MePRXs onto PEEK surfaces was confirmed by analyzing their attenuated total reflectance Fourier transform infrared spectra and contact angles. When mouse preosteoblasts were cultured on the MePRX-PEEK and bare PEEK surfaces, the MePRX-PEEK surfaces showed significantly better proliferation and osteoblast differentiation than the bare PEEK surfaces. These results suggest that surface modification of PEEKs using MePRXs improves their osteoblast compatibility.
Keywords: Osteoblast differentiation; Poly(ether ether ketone); Polyrotaxane.