Titanium plays an important role in medical applications, such as hip joint implants or fixation plates. These implants must perform differently depending on their clinical application. In particular, the osseointegrative properties required of the implant vary with clinical application. The present work is aimed at the functionalization of titanium surface using polyelectrolyte multilayers consisting of natural biopolymers and testing their cell adhesive properties with respect to the osseointegration capacity.
Multilayered coatings were created from chitosan (Chi), hyaluronic acid (HA), and gelatine (Gel) through layer-by-layer deposition. Cell adhesion, proliferation, and viability were tested in vitro with the human osteoblast cell line CAL-72 at timescales up to 7 d. Two multilayer coatings consisting of alternated chitosan/gelatin or chitosan/hyaluronic acid layers with the outmost layer of gelatin (Chi/Gel) or hyaluronic acid (Chi/HA), respectively, were tested. The experimental results showed that surfaces functionalized with Chi/Gel and Chi/HA multilayers demonstrated a good initial adhesion of osteoblasts. After 4 d culturing, osteoblast cells were almost completely detached from the substrates functionalized with Chi/HA multilayers. In contrast to Chi/HA, the proliferation of osteoblasts on substrates with Chi/Gel multilayer coatings was statistically significantly higher compared to the control titanium.
We have shown that the growth of osteoblasts can be enhanced or completely prevented on a titanium surface functionalized with polyelectrolyte multilayers consisting of natural biopolymers, as desired. Both multilayer coatings, Chi/Gel and Chi/HA, have potential for applications in the field of titanium implants, where rapid osseointegration is essential, and/or where no ingrowth of the implant is desired, respectively.