Tissue Engineering Part C, Methods vol:17 issue:3 pages:311-318
Shortening of the healing time before loading risks impeding successful titanium implant anchorage into compromised bone. A thorough understanding at the genetic scale of the early phases of bone regeneration at the implant interface is required before the development of strategies to enhance implant osseointegration. In this study a new in vivo implant model to explore the mechanism by which titanium implant osseointegration is affected by the host bone properties is presented. An implant was conceptualized enabling standardized harvesting of peri-implant tissue for quantitative molecular analysis while preserving the mimicking of the clinical setting. The implant is partly indented to provide a well-defined healing compartment from where tissue differentiation and de novo bone formation can be investigated and partly screw-threaded to provide a good implant anchorage into the bone. The feasibility of the implant design was assessed in osteopenic bone conditions, evoked by simulated weightlessness. Wistar rats were either hindlimb unloaded by tail suspension (HU) for 9 days or acted as controls (CTL). The status of compromised bone tissue through 9-days HU was confirmed by micro-X-ray computed tomography. The implant was installed in the proximal tibial bone 7 days after the onset of HU or CTL. Two days postimplantation, the peri-implant regenerating tissue responses were recorded by measuring expression of inflammatory, angiogenic, and bone resorption parameters (hypoxia-inducible factor 1, alpha subunit; vascular endothelial growth factor A; angiopoietin 1; endothelial PAS domain protein 1; fibroblast growth factor 2; tumor necrosis factor; interleukin 11; acid phosphatase 5, tartrate resistant; tumor necrosis factor (ligand) superfamily, member 11/RANKL). We successfully demonstrated that HU-associated bone conditions evoked a significant alteration of expression of the angiogenic markers in the peri-implant regenerative tissue during initial implant osseointegration, whereas the expression levels of the inflammatory and bone resorption parameters remained unchanged. We concluded that this in vivo implant model provides a well-designed and controlled method to examine molecular responses in implant osseointegration to impaired bone conditions. This model may serve to explore the application of anabolic strategies in peri-implant osteogenesis.