Enhancement of in vitro Bioactivity resulting from the Hydroxylation of Oxide Ceramic Surfaces

  • C. Niedhart
  • M. Sax
  • K. Geschwill
  • R. Telle
  • F. U. Niethard
Conference paper
Part of the Ceramics in Orthopaedics book series (CIO)


Oxide ceramics are excellent materials tor implants and prostheses because ot their biomechanical stability and low wear rate. However, oxide ceramics are bioinert, and after implantation failure rate is high. Aim of our study was to determine the influence of a surface modification via hydroxylation of oxide ceramics on the effects on human osteoblast like cells in vitro.

Alumina ceramic plates were sintered at 1600°C and the surface was polished to a mirror finish. The plates were then treated with 30 % sodium hydroxide solution for 24 or 96 hours (activation time) at 90°C or were left untreated (control). X-ray diffraction pattern of activated plates showed aluminium hydroxide at the surface. Bending strength was examined in a four point bending test. Weibull statistics showed no differences between treated and untreated ceramics.

Human osteoblast-like cells were prepared from bone obtained from knee surgery per expiant technique and cultured in DMEM medium (10% CS, 1% penicillin/streptomycin). Cells were seeded with 4×104 cells / probe. We examined cell attachment, survival and apoptosis rate after 24 hours and protein, alkaline phosphatase (AP) and osteocalcin (OC) secretion as well as mineralisation rate after 7 days. There was no sign of cytotoxicity or growth inhibition. Adhesion was significantly enhanced up to 136 % of control after 24 hours activation time (p<0.01), AP secretion was similar to control and OC secretion was enhanced to 229 % of control (p<0.01). Mineralisation was detectable at all probes.

Treating the surface of inert oxide ceramics with sodium hydroxide solution to produce biologically active OH-groups is a newly developed, simple and cheap technique. Bioactivity of alumina ceramics was clearly enhanced without cytotoxic effects or changes of material characteristics. In conclusion, this method “bioactivates” originally bioinert ceramics. In the future, it might be possible to design pure ceramic prostheses without the problem of early loosening.


Aseptic Loosening Sodium Hydroxide Solution Joint Arthroplasty Oxide Ceramic Biomed Mater 
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Copyright information

© Steinkopff Verlag, Darmstadt 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Niedhart
  • M. Sax
  • K. Geschwill
  • R. Telle
  • F. U. Niethard

There are no affiliations available

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