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Keywords:

  • osteoblast cell proliferation;
  • plasma treatment;
  • TiO2 nanotubes

Abstract

Titanium implants are well known for their biocompatibility, especially if bioinertness is desired, due to the TiO2 native oxide which is thermodynamically and chemically very stable. One of the major problems with this material involve its inability to induce enhanced cellular adhesion and proliferation on its surface without complicated structural approaches, leading to the possible lack of bone-implant interfacial interaction and rejection. In order to potentially improve osseointegration of such implants self-assembled vertical and ordered nanotubular TiO2 arrays were fabricated by electrochemical anodization and were plasma treated under O2, N2, O2 + N2, and He gaseous environments and their properties analyzed by various analytical procedures. Osteoblast bone cells (MC3T3-E1) were grown on TiO2 nanotube-arrayed substrates and their proliferation was analyzed and quantified. Oxygen and nitrogen plasma treatments were found to significantly improve the proliferation of the bone cells over the TiO2 nanoarray substrates, with the O2 + N2 combination yielding the most significant improvements. These findings may be explained by the interactions between the cells and the changes in the surface chemistry induced by the O2 and N2 groups introduced by the plasma discharge treatment onto the TiO2 surfaces