Covalently-Linked hyaluronan promotes bone formation around Ti implants in a rabbit model

Marco Morra, Clara Cassinelli, Giovanna Cascardo, Milena Fini, Gianluca Giavaresi, Roberto Giardino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The goal of this study was the in vivo evaluation of nanoporous titanium (Ti) implants bearing a covalently linked surface hyaluronan (HA) layer. Implant surface topography and surface chemistry were previously evaluated by scanning electron micorscopy and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. Results showed that the surface modification process did not affect surface topography, yielding a homogeneously HA-coated nanotextured implant surface. In vivo evaluation of implants in both cortical and trabecular bone of rabbit femurs showed a significant improvement of both bone-to-implant contact and bone ingrowth at HA-bearing implant interfaces at 4 weeks. The improvement in osteointegration rate was particularly evident in the marrow-rich trabecular bone (bone-to-implant contact: control 22.5%; HA-coated 69.0%, p <0.01). Mechanical testing (push-out test) and evaluation of interfacial bone microhardness confirmed a faster bone maturation around HA-coated implants (Bone Maturation Index: control 79.1%; HA-coated 90.6%, p <0.05). Suggestions based on the biochemical role of HA are presented to account for the observed behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)657-663
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Orthopaedic Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2009


  • Biochemical modifcation of Ti surfaces
  • Bone implants
  • Hyaluronan
  • Osteointegration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Medicine(all)


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