Titanium undergoes time-dependent degradation in biological capability, or “biological aging”. It is unknown whether the biological aging of titanium occurs beyond four weeks and whether age-related changes are definitely associated with surface hydrophilicity. We therefore measured multiple biological parameters of bone marrow-derived osteoblasts cultured on newly prepared, one-month-old, three-month-old, and six-month-old acid-etched titanium surfaces, as well as the hydrophilicity of these surfaces. New surfaces were superhydrophilic with a contact angle of ddH2
O of 0°, whereas old surfaces were all hydrophobic with the contact angle of around 90°. Cell attachment, cell spread, cell density, and alkaline phosphatase activity were highest on new surfaces and decreased in a time-dependent manner. These decreases persisted and remained significant for most of the biological parameters up to six-months. While the number of attached cells was negatively correlated with hydrophilicity, the other measured parameters were not. The biological capability of titanium continues to degrade up to six months of aging, but these effects are not directly associated with time-dependent reductions in hydrophilicity. A full understanding of the biological aging will help guide regulatory improvements in implant device manufacturing and develop countermeasures against this phenomenon in order to improve clinical outcomes.
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