Antimicrobial loading of nanotubular titanium surfaces favoring surface coverage by mammalian cells over bacterial colonization

Xiaoxiang Ren, Henny C. van der Mei*, Yijin Ren, Henk J. Busscher, Brandon W. Peterson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
76 Downloads (Pure)


Titanium is frequently used for dental implants, percutaneous pins and screws or orthopedic joint prostheses. Implant surfaces can become peri-operatively contaminated by surgically introduced bacteria during implantation causing lack of surface coverage by mammalian cells and subsequent implant failure. Especially implants that have to function in a bacteria-laden environment such as dental implants or percutaneous pins, cannot be surgically implanted while being kept sterile. Accordingly, contaminating bacteria adhering to implant surfaces hamper successful surface coverage by mammalian cells required for long-term functioning. Here, nanotubular titanium surfaces were prepared and loaded with Ag nanoparticles or gentamicin with the aim of killing contaminating bacteria in order to favor surface coverage by mammalian cells. In mono-cultures, unloaded nanotubules did not cause bacterial killing, but loading of Ag nanoparticles or gentamicin reduced the number of adhering Staphylococcus aureus or Pseudomonas aeruginosa CFUs. A gentamicin-resistant Staphylococcus epidermidis was only killed upon loading with Ag nanoparticles. However, unlike low-level gentamicin loading, loading with Ag nanoparticles also caused tissue-cell death. In bi-cultures, low-level gentamicin-loading of nanotubular titanium surfaces effectively eradicated contaminating bacteria favoring surface coverage by mammalian cells. Thus, care must be taken in loading nanotubular titanium surfaces with Ag nanoparticles, while low-level gentamicin-loaded nanotubular titanium surfaces can be used as a local antibiotic delivery system to negate failure of titanium implants due to peri-operatively introduced, contaminating bacteria without hampering surface coverage by mammalian cells.

Original languageEnglish
Article number112021
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalMaterials science & engineering c-Biomimetic and supramolecular systems
Publication statusPublished - Apr-2021


  • Silver nanoparticles
  • Co-cultures
  • Biomaterial-associated infection
  • Biomaterials implants
  • Local drug delivery
  • Gentamicin

Cite this