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Research Article

Osteoconductive Surface Modification of Polyether Ether Ketone Implants via Biomimetic Approach: An In Vitro Study

Abduljaleel Azad Samad, Reiadh Kamal Al-Kamali.

Polyether ether ketone (PEEK) is a biocompatible polymer with a variety of applications, especially in the medical field, due to its unique physical and mechanical properties, and sometimes more recently, similar to metals. The purpose of this study was to create biocompatible coatings on PEEK polymer samples by chemical surface modification process and subsequently to create hydroxyapatite (HA) coatings using the biomimetic method. For this purpose, different methods of chemical surface modification used in biomimetic method were studied and finally surface preparation was done by two methods of oxygen plasma and dip coating process and finally under biomimetic protocol. Finally, the samples were examined and evaluated by SEM, EDS and XRD, AFM analysis as well as cellular analysis.
The method used in this project is biomimetic coating which has the capability of creating a dense CaP layer on the implant. In order to prepare the implant surface for biomimetic coating, two pretreatment methods were used: oxygen plasma and chemical surface treatment via Dip coating in sulfuric acid. Selecting the solvent of this PEEK substrate was an important step in achieving the desired properties. By investigating various solvents of acetone, hydrochloric acid, nitric acid and sulfuric acid, it was concluded that the sulfuric acid activates the implant surface for biomimetic coating. Some solvents, such as sodium hydroxide, change the surface chemistry due to their reaction with PEEK substrate, but increase the time required for proper coating on the SBF. The formation of biomimetic hydroxyapatite coating on the surface of all PEEK implants, which is an important factor in bone attachment and has a pseudo-bone structure, was then confirmed by SEM images and EDS, FTIR and XRD analysis. The FTIR results showed that oxygen plasma increased the hydrophilicity of the samples by creating hydrophilic groups on the surface such as hydroxyl and carboxylic acid through interaction with the intrinsic PEEK groups. Surface roughness analysis by AFM showed that the plasma process was able to decrease or increase the surface roughness depending on the parameters (power and time), possibly by mechanical etching mechanisms, surface melting, and formation of active groups on the surface.
The uncoated and coated PEEK implants were evaluated for Cytotoxicity in vitro using MTT assay. Optical microscopy study of cultured fibroblast and dental pulp cells on PEEK as well as coated PEEK showed that biomimetic coating increased the number, dispersion and adhesion of the cells to the implant. According to the results, it could be concluded that biomimetic coating of dental PEEK implants with bioactive HA significantly improves their bioactivity and overcomes the common limitation dental implants which is implant loose.

Key words: PEEK; Hydroxyapatite; Surface modification; biomimetic coating.

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