Fibroblast adhesion and activation onto micro-machined titanium surfaces

J. Guillem-Marti, L. Delgado, Maria Godoy Gallardo, M. Pegueroles, M. Herrero, F. J. Gil

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


OBJECTIVES: Surface modifications performed at the neck of dental implants, in the manner of micro-grooved surfaces, can reduce fibrous tissue encapsulation and prevent bacterial colonization, thereby improving fibrointegration and the formation of a biological seal. However, the applied procedures are technically complex and/or time consuming methods. The aim of this study was to analyse the fibroblast behaviour on modified titanium surfaces obtained, applying a simple and low-cost method. MATERIAL AND METHODS: An array of titanium surfaces was obtained using a commercial computerized numerical control lathe, modifying the feed rate and the cutting depth. To elucidate the potential ability of the generated surfaces to activate connective tissue cells, a thorough gene (by real time - qPCR) and protein (by western blot or zymography) expression and cellular response characterization (cell morphology, cell adhesion and cell activation by secreting extracellular matrix (ECM) components and their enzyme regulators) was performed. RESULTS: Micro-grooved surfaces have statistically significant differences in the groove's width (approximately 10, 50 and 100 μm) depending on the applied advancing fixed speed. Field emission scanning electron microscopy images showed that fibroblasts oriented along the generated grooves, but they were only entirely accommodated on the wider grooves (≥50 μm). Micro-grooved surfaces exhibited an earlier cell attachment and activation, as seen by collagen Iα1 and fibronectin deposition and activation of ECM remodelling enzymes, compared with the other surfaces. However, fibroblasts could remain in an activated state on narrower surfaces (<50 μm) at later stages. CONCLUSIONS: The use of micro-grooved surfaces could improve implant integration at the gingival site with respect to polished surfaces. Micro-grooved surfaces enhance early fibroblast adhesion and activation, which could be critical for the formation of a biological seal and finally promote tissue integration. Surfaces with wider grooves (≥50 μm) seem to be more appropriate than surfaces with narrow grooves (<50 μm), as fibroblasts could persist in an activated state on narrower grooved surfaces, increasing the probability of producing a fibrotic response.
Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical Oral Implants Research
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)770-780
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Bacterial adhesion
  • Cell activation
  • Cell adhesion
  • Dental implant
  • Fibroblast
  • Micro-machining


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