New method of resurfacing bone improves odds of successful grafts

September 25, 2012, Pennsylvania State University

New method of resurfacing bone improves odds of successful grafts
Bone graft coated with inorganic material. Credit: Henry Donahue
(Medical Xpress)—Coating a bone graft with an inorganic compound found in bones and teeth may significantly increase the likelihood of a successful implant, according to Penn State researchers.

Natural bone grafts need to be sterilized and processed with chemicals and radiation before implantation into the body to ensure that disease is not transmitted by the graft. have a rough surface. However, once a graft is sterilized the surface changes and is not optimal for stimulating in the body.

"We created a method for resurfacing bone that had been processed, and resurfacing that bone so that it is now nearly as osteogenic as unprocessed bone—meaning it works nearly as well as bone that hadn't been processed at all," said Henry J. Donahue, Michael and Myrtle Baker Professor of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, Penn State College of Medicine. "That's the bottom line."

Donahue, who is also a faculty member of the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences, and Alayna Loiselle, postdoctoral fellow in orthopaedics and rehabilitation, Penn State College of Medicine, teamed up with Akhlesh Lakhtakia, Charles Godfrey Binder Professor of and Mechanics. They developed a way to create a rough surface on that is similar in texture to the surface of an untreated bone. This similarity promotes healing in the bone.

The researchers found that by coating a bone with the hydroxyapatite, using , they could closely mimic the rough surface of an untreated bone.

To find the optimum thickness of hydroxyapatite, Donahue and Loiselle sterilized the graft samples in their lab at Penn State Hershey Medical Center. After sterilization, the samples went to the University Park campus, where physical vapor deposition layered different amounts of hydroxyapatite on the grafts. Then the samples were returned to Hershey for Donahue and Loiselle to test.

The researchers saw that the optimum thickness of hydroxyapatite was in the middle of what they tested. If the hydroxyapatite coating was not thick enough—or there was none—the graft implant worked, but did not integrate as well as if there were a few nanometers more layered onto the surface. If the hydroxyapatite was too thick, the graft implant again worked, but did not integrate as well as the researchers had seen was possible.

"I thought we wouldn't need to coat the bone more than a couple of hundred nanometers. As it turns out, it was much less than that," said Lakhtakia.

A hundred nanometers is about the size of a single virus.

Fifteen years ago Lakhtakia started an area called sculptured thin films. He thought these might be used to heal broken bones, but wasn't sure how. He suggested that for two bones to be joined, coating the two opposing faces with sculptured thin film might bring them together. Bone is living tissue, so bone would grow through the sculptured thin film and fuse together and create some sort of adhesive bond.

"When [Dr. Donahue] said he had this particular problem and asked if I could do something about it, I thought about that," said Lakhtakia. "In 15 years or so, my understanding had considerably evolved, and the one thing that I thought was that whatever needs to be done on the should not take too much time and should be little in size. If it is little, there is a better chance of integration inside the body—less foreign material inside the human body."

The researchers also believe this method could be used for soft musculoskeletal tissue implants and orthopedic device implants.

Explore further: Microwave heating improves artificial bone

Related Stories

Microwave heating improves artificial bone

July 24, 2012
An artificial bone scaffold produced by researchers in South Korea could enhance the treatment of bone damage and defects through bone grafts.

Researcher develops new coating to help bone implants last

September 20, 2012
(Medical Xpress)—Two Colorado State University professors have developed a nanostructured surface coating for bone that is expected to help improve the lifetime of bone implants.

Recommended for you

New inflammation inhibitor discovered

November 16, 2018
A multidisciplinary team of researchers led from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have developed an anti-inflammatory drug molecule with a new mechanism of action. By inhibiting a certain protein, the researchers were able ...

Gut hormone and brown fat interact to tell the brain it's time to stop eating

November 15, 2018
Researchers from Germany and Finland have shown that so-called "brown fat" interacts with the gut hormone secretin in mice to relay nutritional signals about fullness to the brain during a meal. The study, appearing November ...

Brain, muscle cells found lurking in kidney organoids grown in lab

November 15, 2018
Scientists hoping to develop better treatments for kidney disease have turned their attention to growing clusters of kidney cells in the lab. One day, so-called organoids—grown from human stem cells—may help repair damaged ...

How the Tasmanian devil inspired researchers to create 'safe cell' therapies

November 15, 2018
A contagious facial cancer that has ravaged Tasmanian devils in southern Australia isn't the first place one would look to find the key to advancing cell therapies in humans.

Researchers discover important connection between cells in the liver

November 15, 2018
University of Minnesota Medical School researchers have made a discovery which could lead to a new way of thinking about how disease pathogenesis in the liver is regulated, which is important for understanding the condition ...

Precision neuroengineering enables reproduction of complex brain-like functions in vitro

November 14, 2018
One of the most important and surprising traits of the brain is its ability to dynamically reconfigure the connections to process and respond properly to stimuli. Researchers from Tohoku University (Sendai, Japan) and the ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.