Gradient coatings of strontium hydroxyapatite/zinc β-tricalcium phosphate as a tool to modulate osteoblast/osteoclast response

Elisa Boanini, Paola Torricelli, Felix Sima, Emanuel Axente, Milena Fini, Ion N. Mihailescu, Adriana Bigi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The chemistry, structure and morphology of the implant surface have a great influence on the integration of an implant material with bone tissue. In this work, we applied Combinatorial Matrix-Assisted Pulsed Laser Evaporation (C-MAPLE) to deposit gradient thin films with variable compositions of Sr-substituted hydroxyapatite (SrHA) and Zn-substituted β-tricalcium phosphate (ZnTCP) on Titanium substrates. Five samples with different SrHA/ZnTCP composition ratios were fabricated by a single step laser procedure. SrHA was synthesized in aqueous medium, whereas ZnTCP was obtained by reaction at high temperature. Both powders were separately suspended in deionized water, frozen at liquid nitrogen temperature and used as targets for C-MAPLE experiments, which proceed via simultaneous laser vaporization of two distinct material targets. X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy analyses confirmed that the coatings contain the same crystalline phases as the as-prepared powder samples, with a homogeneous distribution of the two phosphates along deposited thin films. Human osteoclast precursor 2T-110 and human osteoblast-like cells MG63 were co-cultured on the coatings. The results indicate that osteoblast viability and production of osteocalcin were promoted by the presence of ZnTCP. On the other hand, SrHA inhibited osteoclastogenesis and osteoclast differentiation, as demonstrated by the observed increase of the osteoprotegerin/RANKL ratio and decrease of the number of TRAP-positive multinucleated cells when increasing SrHA amount in the coatings. The results indicate that the possibility to tailor the composition of the coatings provides materials able to modulate bone growth and bone resorption.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Inorganic Biochemistry
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2018


  • Co-cultures
  • Coatings
  • Hydroxyapatite
  • Strontium
  • Zinc
  • β-tricalcium phosphate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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