It is believed that orthopedic and implant longevity can be improved by optimizing fixation, or direct bone-implant contact, through the stimulation of new bone formation around the implant. The purpose of this study was to determine whether heat (600°C) or radiofrequency plasma glow discharge (RFGD) pretreatment of Ti6Al4V stimulated calcium-phosphate mineral formation in cultures of attached MC3T3 osteoprogenitor cells with or without a fibronectin coating. Calcium-phosphate mineral was analyzed by flame atomic absorption spectrophotometry, scanning electron microscopy (SEM)/electron dispersive X-ray microanalysis (EDAX) and Fourier transformed infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). RFGD and heat pretreatments produced a general pattern of increased total soluble calcium levels, although the effect of heat pretreatment was greater than that of RFGD. SEM/EDAX showed the presence of calcium-and phosphorus-containing particles on untreated and treated disks that were more numerous on fibronectin-coated disks. These particles were observed earliest (1 week) on RFGD-pretreated surfaces. FTIR analyses showed that the heat pretreatment produced a general pattern of increased levels of apatite mineral at 2–4 weeks; a greater effect was observed for fibronectin-coated disks compared to uncoated disks. The observed findings suggest that heat pretreatment of Ti6Al4V increased the total mass of the mineral formed in MC3T3 osteoprogenitor cell cultures more than RFGD while the latter pretreatment hastened the early deposition of mineral. These findings help to support the hypothesis that the pretreatments enhance the osteoinductive properties of the alloy. J. Cell. Biochem. 114: 1917–1927, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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