The effect of different collagen modifications for titanium and titanium nitrite surfaces on functions of gingival fibroblasts



Targeted modifications of the bulk implant surfaces using bioactive agents provide a promising tool for improvement of the long-term bony and soft tissue integration of dental implants. In this study, we assessed the cellular responses of primary human gingival fibroblasts (HGF) to different surface modifications of titanium (Ti) and titanium nitride (TiN) alloys with type I collagen or cyclic-RGDfK-peptide in order to define a modification improving long-term implants in dental medicine.

Materials and methods

Employing Ti and TiN implants, we compared the performance of simple dip coating and anodic immobilization of type I collagen that provided collagen layers of two different thicknesses. HGF were seeded on the different coated implants, and adhesion, proliferation, and gene expression were analyzed.


Although there were no strong differences in initial cell adhesion between the groups at 2 and 4 hours, we found that all surface modifications induced higher proliferation rates as compared to the unmodified controls. Consistently, gene expression levels of cell adhesion markers (focal adhesion kinase (FAK), integrin beta1, and vinculin), cell differentiation markers (FGFR1, TGFb-R1), extracellular protein markers (type I collagen, vimentin), and cytoskeletal protein marker aktinin-1 were consistently higher in all surface modification groups at two different time points of investigation as compared to the unmodified controls.


Our results indicate that simple dip coating of Ti and TiN with collagen is sufficient to induce in vitro cellular responses that are comparable to those of more reliable coating methods like anodic adsorption, chemical cross-linking, or RGD coating. TiN alloys do not possess any positive or adverse effects on HGF.

Clinical relevance

Our results demonstrate a simple, yet effective, method for collagen coating on titanium implants to improve the long term integration and stability of dental implants.

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All implant materials investigated in this study were manufactured and kindly provided by the Biomet Deutschland GmbH. We also gratefully acknowledge the financial support of this study provided by the Biomet Deutschland GmbH.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Alexander Hofmann.

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This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


The work was supported by Biomet GmbH Deutschland, Berlin, Germany.

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Additional information

U. Ritz and T. Nusselt contributed equally to this paper.

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Ritz, U., Nusselt, T., Sewing, A. et al. The effect of different collagen modifications for titanium and titanium nitrite surfaces on functions of gingival fibroblasts. Clin Oral Invest 21, 255–265 (2017).

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  • Titanium
  • Titanium nitride
  • Collagen
  • Surface modification
  • RGD
  • Gingival fibroblast