Jacquelyn Monroe, Brian Jensen, Laura Bridgewater, Natalie Kwon, Brigham Young University
Osseointegration plays a vital role in orthopedic surgery, as bone cells should be able to adhere and form on the implant surface to enable strong mechanical connection. Titanium has long been used in orthopedic and prosthetic implants because of its known toughness, strength and low conductivity, and especially its biocompatibility. However, native bone growth onto titanium is not optimal. Previous work in our lab has developed a carbon-infiltrated carbon nanotube surface which exhibits structural antimicrobial properties. The purpose of the present work was to evaluate osteoblast growth on this surface to determine whether the coating was cytotoxic, neutral, or osteogenic. Vertically aligned carbon nanotubes were grown on top of commercially pure titanium samples using ethylene and hydrogen gas at 750C, followed by infiltration at 900C. Our control sample was an uncoated commercially pure titanium sample. Both the control and CI-CNT coated titanium samples were cell cultured with human osteoblasts kept at 39C for approximately 96 hours. The preliminary tests have shown that the CI-CNT coated titanium sample promotes enhanced osteoblast proliferation, as well as functionalization (e.g., they are laying down calcium as part of bone formation). These results may lead to an orthopedic implant coating which provides both structural antimicrobial behavior, as well as enhanced osseointegration.