Objectives: To investigate how a thermal treatment to increase titanium wettability influences proteins adsorption from blood serum and osteoblasts responses. Methods: Titanium discs with machined or micro-rough profiles were thermally treated to obtain hydrophilic surfaces. The adsorption kinetics of two representative serum proteins were determined by Bradford assay, while the stable protein adsorption pattern from blood serum was investigated by SDS-PAGE and Western Blot analysis. Subsequently, MC3T3-E1 cells were cultured on titanium for 24h and assayed for adhesion and morphology. Results: Thermally-induced hydrophilicity dramatically improved the capacity of titanium to selectively adsorb fibronectin and fibrinogen from blood serum, without evident influence on other representative serum proteins. The selective adsorption of fibronectin was linked to the improved capacity of MC3T3-E1 cells to adhere and spread on hydrophilic surfaces. Significance: We identified a potential method to improve selective protein adsorption on titanium by enhancing implant surface wettability through a thermal treatment. Selective fibronectin adsorption was further indicated as the responsible for improved osteoblasts adhesion. Targeting specific cell response by selective protein adsorption appears to be crucial to conceive even more performant therapies.
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