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J. Mater. Sci. Technol.  2015, Vol. 31 Issue (5): 427-436    DOI: 10.1016/j.jmst.2014.10.012
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In vitro Response of Human Mesenchymal Stromal Cells to Titanium Coated Peek Films and Their Suitability for Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Cindy Elschner1, *, Carolin Noack2, Carolin Preißler3, Andreas Krause4, Ulrich Scheler1, *, Ute Hempel3
1 Leibniz-Institut für Polymerforschung Dresden e.V., Hohe Str. 6, 01069 Dresden, Germany; 2 CRTD/DFG-Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden, Fetscherstr. 105, 01307 Dresden, Germany; 3 Institut für Physiologische Chemie, Technische Universität Dresden, Fiedlerstr. 42, 01307 Dresden, Germany; 4 NaMLab gGmbH, Nöthnitzer Str. 64, 01187 Dresden, Germany
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Abstract  Medical imaging is an important tool for the post-operative checkup of an accurate position of an implant as well as for monitoring the integration in the adjacent tissue that may influence the success of a medical device. Unfortunately, the possibility to use imaging methods is associated with the implant material and all the established metallic materials for surgery do not show a proper “imaging compatibility”. The present study is a combined investigation of the in vitro response to human mesenchymal stromal cells (hMSC) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) compatibility of the potential material combination polyetheretherketone/titanium (PEEK/Ti) for medical devices. Because of the advantageous imaging properties and the mechanical and chemical stability, PEEK becomes more and more an alternative to common metallic implant materials like titanium or cobalt?chrome. However, PEEK is a bioinert material having a limited ability for direct bone incorporation. Due to its excellent biocompatibility, Ti was chosen as coating material to enhance the cellular response. The result is a combination with advantageous properties: the magnetic susceptibility and elastic modulus close to bone, corrosion resistance and mechanical flexibility of PEEK and the excellent biocompatibility of titanium. The appearance of metal-related artifact was discussed in electrical resistivity and magnetic susceptibility. Therefore, two titanium coatings have been investigated: a complete coating and a structured surface avoiding surface conductivity. To determine the in vitro biocompatibility, the cell responses were assessed in terms of the overall morphology of the hMSC and their cell area distribution, proliferation, osteogenic differentiation and mineral deposition. The cellular stress was evaluated by the prostaglandin E2 level. The bonded materials both produced no disturbing artifacts in magnetic resonance imaging. Compared to the pure PEEK material, the titanium coated specimens showed an enhanced biocompatibility, which is indicated by a higher cell number, larger activity of the enzyme tissue non-specific alkaline phosphatase and therefore a greater amount of deposited calcium and phosphate. The results on bare PEEK are accompanied with a higher cellular stress level, which is indicated by prostaglandin E2.
Key wordsPolyetheretherketone      Titanium coating      Biocompatibility      Magnetic resonance imaging      Human mesenchymal stromal cells     
Received: 24 July 2014      Published: 23 July 2015
Fund:This work was supported by grant of Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (grant SFB/ Transregio 67, projects B1 and B8) and the European Social Fund through Sächsische Aufbaubank (grant number: 100107173). The authors thank Evonik Industries AG (Darmstadt, Germany) for PEEK sample consignments and the Franz Eckert GmbH (Waldkirch, Germany) for the friendly consignment of a stainless steel wire mesh. Additionally, the authors thank Chris Elschner and Sylvio Schubert (Institut für Angewandte Photophysik, Technische Universität Dresden) for their help with the determination of the electrical resistivity of the specimen. From the Leibniz-Institut für Polymerforschung Dresden e.V. the authors thank the following colleagues for their support: Marina Oelmann for the determination of the water contact angles of the specimen, Holger Scheibner and Konrad Schneider for the bond strength measurements and Bodo Vieweg and Birgit Urban for technical assistance in the lab.
Corresponding Authors: Corresponding authors. Tel.: +49 351 4658 432; Fax: +49 351 4658 231. E-mail addresses: (C. Elschner), Scheler).     E-mail:

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Cindy Elschner, Carolin Noack, Carolin Preiß, ler, Andreas Krause, Ulrich Scheler, Ute Hempel. In vitro Response of Human Mesenchymal Stromal Cells to Titanium Coated Peek Films and Their Suitability for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. J. Mater. Sci. Technol., 2015, 31(5): 427-436.

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Photographs of the specimen (a-d) and their corresponding light micrographs (a′
): (a, a′
) PEEK film, (b, b′
) PEEK film with unstructured Ti layer (thickness: 50 nm), (c, c′
) PEEK film with structured Ti layer (thickness: 50 nm)
the white spots consist of Ti and the mesh is the pure PEEK polymer, and (d, d′
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