Materials Science and Engineering C, Materials for Biological Applications vol:42 pages:396-404
In the present work, we studied the immobilisation of the biopolymer gelatin onto the surface of three dimensional (3D) regular Ti6Al4V porous implants to improve their surface bio-activity. The successful immobilisation of the gelatin coating was made possible by a polydopamine interlayer, a polymer coating inspired by the adhesive nature of mussels. The presence of both coatings was first optimised on two dimensional titanium (2D Ti) substrates and confirmed by different techniques including X-ray photelectron spectroscopy, contact angle measurements, atomic force microscopy and fluorescence microscopy. Results showed homogeneous coatings that are stable for at least 24 h in phosphate buffer at 37 °C. In a next step, the coating procedure was successfully transferred to 3D Ti6Al4V porous implants, which indicates the versatility of the applied coating procedure with regard to complex surface morphologies. Furthermore, the bio-activity of these stable gelatin coatings was enhanced by applying a third and final coating using the cell-attractive protein fibronectin. The reproducible immobilisation process allowed for a controlled biomolecule presentation to the surrounding tissue. This newly developed coating procedure outperformed the previously reported silanisation procedure for immobilising gelatin. In vitro cell adhesion and culture studies with human periosteum-derived cells showed that the investigated coatings did not compromise the biocompatible nature of Ti6Al4V porous implants, but no distinct biological differences between the coatings were found.