Stem cell-mediated functionalization of titanium implants

  • Deanna Ingrassia
  • Martina Sladkova
  • Michael Palmer
  • Wei Xia
  • Håkan Engqvist
  • Giuseppe Maria de PeppoEmail author
Tissue Engineering Constructs and Cell Substrates Original Research
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Tissue Engineering Constructs and Cell Substrates


Prosthetic implants are used daily to treat edentulous people and to restore mobility in patients affected by skeletal defects. Titanium (Ti) is the material of choice in prosthetics, because it can form a stable bond with the surrounding bone following implantation—a process known as osseointegration. Yet, full integration of prosthetic implants takes time, and fails in clinical situations characterized by limited bone quantity and/or compromised regenerative capacity, and in at-risk patients. Intense research efforts are thus made to develop new implants that are cost-effective, safe, and suited to every patient in each clinical situation. In this study, we tested the possibility to functionalize Ti implants using stem cells. Human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived mesenchymal progenitor (iPSC-MP) cells were cultured on Ti model disks for 2 weeks in osteogenic conditions. Samples were then treated using four different decellularization methods to wash off the cells and expose the matrix. The functionalized disks were finally sterilized and seeded with fresh human iPSC-MP cells to study the effect of stem cell-mediated surface functionalization on cell behavior. The results show that different decellularization methods produce diverse surface modifications, and that these modifications promote proliferation of human iPSC-MP cells, affect the expression of genes involved in development and differentiation, and stimulate the release of alkaline phosphatase. Cell-mediated functionalization represents an attractive strategy to modify the surface of prosthetic implants with cues of biological relevance, and opens unprecedented possibilities for development of new devices with enhanced therapeutic potential.

Graphical Abstract

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We thank Dr. Daniel Paull, Dr. Cecile Terrenoire, Dr. Ana Sevilla and Dr. TC Ramaraj for assistance with Nanostring analysis, and Dr. Michael Yaffe for proofreading the manuscript. We also thank the staff at the City University of New York’s Advanced Science Research Center for their help with SEM and EDS analysis. Funding was provided by the New York Stem Cell Foundation Research Institute (GMdP), The Ralph and Ricky Lauren Family Foundation (GMdP) and by the EU FP7 NMP Biodesign program (HE).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary Table S1


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Deanna Ingrassia
    • 1
  • Martina Sladkova
    • 1
  • Michael Palmer
    • 2
  • Wei Xia
    • 2
  • Håkan Engqvist
    • 2
  • Giuseppe Maria de Peppo
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.The New York Stem Cell Foundation Research InstituteNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Division of Applied Material SciencesUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden

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