• cell signaling;
  • osteoprogenitor differentiation;
  • titanium surface modification;
  • topography



Titanium implant surfaces with modified topographies have improved osteogenic properties in vivo. However, the molecular mechanisms remain obscure. This study explored the signaling pathways responsible for the pro-osteogenic properties of micro-roughened (SLA) and chemically/nanostructurally (modSLA) modified titanium surfaces on human alveolar bone-derived osteoprogenitor cells (BCs) in vitro.

Materials and methods

The activation of stem cell signaling pathways (TGFβ/BMP, Wnt, FGF, Hedgehog, Notch) was investigated following early exposure (24 and 72 h) of BCs to SLA and modSLA surfaces in the absence of osteogenic cell culture supplements.


Key regulatory genes from the TGFβ/BMP (TGFBR2, BMPR2, BMPR1B, ACVR1B, SMAD1, SMAD5), Wnt (Wnt/β-catenin and Wnt/Ca2+) (FZD1, FZD3, FZD5, LRP5, NFATC1, NFATC2, NFATC4, PYGO2, LEF1) and Notch (NOTCH1, NOTCH2, NOTCH4, PSEN1, PSEN2, PSENEN) pathways were upregulated on the modified surfaces. These findings correlated with a higher expression of osteogenic markers bone sialoprotein (IBSP) and osteocalcin (BGLAP), and bone differentiation factors BMP2, BMP6, and GDF15, as observed on the modified surfaces.


These findings demonstrate that the activation of the pro-osteogenic cell signaling pathways by modSLA and SLA surfaces leads to enhanced osteogenic differentiation as evidenced after 7 and 14 days culture in osteogenic media and provides a mechanistic insight into the superior osseointegration on the modified surfaces observed in vivo.