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Visualizing biointerfaces in three dimensions: electron tomography of the bone-hydroxyapatite interface
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Applied Materials Sciences. (Materials in Medicine)
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2010 (English)In: Journal of the Royal Society Interface, ISSN 1742-5689, E-ISSN 1742-5662, Vol. 7, no 51, 1497-501 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

A positive interaction between human bone tissue and synthetics is crucial for the success of bone-regenerative materials. A greater understanding of the mechanisms governing bone-bonding is often gained via visualization of the bone-implant interface. Interfaces to bone have long been imaged with light, X-rays and electrons. Most of these techniques, however, only provide low-resolution or two-dimensional information. With the advances in modern day transmission electron microscopy, including new hardware and increased software computational speeds, the high-resolution visualization and analysis of three-dimensional structures is possible via electron tomography. We report, for the first time, a three-dimensional reconstruction of the interface between human bone and a hydroxyapatite implant using Z-contrast electron tomography. Viewing this structure in three dimensions enabled us to observe the nanometre differences in the orientation of hydroxyapatite crystals precipitated on the implant surface in vivo versus those in the collagen matrix of bone. Insight into the morphology of biointerfaces is considerably enhanced with three-dimensional techniques. In this regard, electron tomography may revolutionize the approach to high-resolution biointerface characterization.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 7, no 51, 1497-501 p.
Keyword [en]
hydroxyapatite, bone, transmission, electron microscopy, electron tomography
National Category
Engineering and Technology
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-133206DOI: 10.1098/rsif.2010.0213ISI: 000281281000010PubMedID: 20534599OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-133206DiVA: diva2:360365
Available from: 2010-11-03 Created: 2010-11-03 Last updated: 2016-04-19Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Nanoscale Osseointegration: Characterization of Biomaterials and their Interfaces with Electron Tomography
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Nanoscale Osseointegration: Characterization of Biomaterials and their Interfaces with Electron Tomography
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Bone response is one of the key determining factors in the overall success of biomaterials intended for bone regeneration and osseointegration. Understanding the formation of bone at an implant surface may lead to the improved design of biomaterials for the future. However, due to the inhomogeneity of bone tissue at an interface, two-dimensional images often lack detail on the interfacial complexity. Furthermore, the increasing use of nanotechnology in the design and production of biomaterials demands characterization techniques on a similar nano length scale.

While current analysis methods, such as X-ray tomography, transmission electron microscopy, focused ion beam microscopy and scanning electron microscopy, provide a basis for analysing biomaterials and biointerfaces, they are incapable of doing so with both nanometre resolution and three-dimensional clarity. In contrast, electron tomography may be used to characterize the three-dimensional structure of biomaterials and their interfaces to bone with nanometre resolution.

In this work, hydroxyapatite scaffolds, and laser-modified titanium and Ti6Al4V implants were studied in contact with human or rabbit bone. Z-contrast electron tomography revealed that the orientation of collagen in bone apposing hydroxyapatite, titanium and Ti6Al4V implants is consistently parallel to the implant surface, where the bioactive layer that precipitates on HA is oriented perpendicular to the implant surface. With this method, complete three-dimensional nanoscale osseointegration of titanium-based implants was also established.

The extension of this technique from interfacial analyses to the design of biomaterials provided an understanding of the pore structure of mesoporous titania. In further investigations, the open three-dimensional pore network, as revealed by electron tomography, showed promise as a coating that improves implant osseointegration and enables site-specific drug-delivery from an implant surface.

In summary, it was demonstrated that two-dimensional characterization techniques were insufficient for the investigation of nanostructured biomaterials, as well as their interfaces to bone. Visualizing biointerfaces and biomaterials with nanometre precision in three-dimensions can expose new fundamental information on materials properties and bone response, enabling better design of biomaterials for the future.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2012. 61 p.
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 962
Electron tomography, transmission electron microscopy, hydroxyapatite, titanium, titania, bone, implant, osseointegration, interface, mesoporous
National Category
Materials Engineering
Research subject
Materials Science
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-179445 (URN)978-91-554-8441-5 (ISBN)
Public defence
2012-10-05, Polhemsalen, Ångström Laboratory, Lägerhyddsvägen 1, Uppsala, 10:15 (English)
Available from: 2012-09-14 Created: 2012-08-15 Last updated: 2013-01-22Bibliographically approved

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