Guided gingival fibroblast attachment to titanium surfaces: an in vitro study


  • Conflict of interest and sources of funding statement

    The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest. The study was financially supported by Friadent GmbH, Health Technologies Knowledge Transfer Network and Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.


Victoria R Kearns

Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease

University of Liverpool, UCD

Duncan Building, Daulby Street

Liverpool, L69 3GA




To assess the potential of gingival fibroblasts to attach in a predetermined linear orientation to a nano-topography of aligned fibres on titanium surfaces and determine the ability of such cells to deposit aligned collagen fibre matrix.

Materials and Methods

smooth glass and rough titanium substrates were coated with polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) nano-fibres. Ammonia plasma treatment was used to modify the surface chemistry. Human gingival fibroblasts were cultured on substrates and orientation and collagen deposition was assessed.


Straight, unidirectional, parallel PTFE nano-fibres were deposited over the titanium features. By 7 days, the majority of cells were observed to orient to untreated fibres despite the presence of competing titanium surface features. On plasma-treated fibre-coated titanium substrates, cell orientation was mixed. On uncoated substrates, the majority of cells oriented to the titanium surface features. On fibre-coated glass substrates, cells oriented themselves with untreated and plasma-treated fibres and secreted collagen in the same direction after 1 week. On uncoated glass substrates, there was no preferred direction of collagen orientation.


Polytetrafluoroethylene nano-fibres induced cell and collagen orientation. Surface chemistry appeared only to affect cell behaviour at early time points. An implant surface that controls cell orientation may also influence the orientation of collagen, providing improved gingival support.