In vitro culture of mesenchymal cells onto nanocrystalline hydroxyapatite-coated Ti13Nb13Zr alloy

A. Bigi, N. Nicoli-Aldini, B. Bracci, B. Zavan, E. Boanini, F. Sbaiz, S. Panzavolta, G. Zorzato, R. Giardino, A. Facchini, G. Abatangelo, R. Cortivo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this study we coated a new biocompatible, nanostructured titanium alloy, Ti13Nb13Zr, with a thin layer of hydroxyapatite nanocrystals and we investigated the response of human bone-marrow-derived mesenchymal cells. The coating was realized using a slightly supersaturated CaP solution, which provokes a fast deposition of nanocrystalline hydroxyapatite. A thin layer of deposition is appreciable on the etched Ti13Nb13Zr substrates after just 1.5 h soaking in the CaP solution, and it reaches a thickness of 1-2 μm after 3 h soaking. The coating seems thinner than that deposited on Ti6A14V, which was examined for comparison, likely because of the different roughness profiles of the two etched alloys, and it is constituted of elongated HA nanocrystals, with a mean length of about 100 nm. Mesenchymal stem cells were seeded onto coated and uncoated Ti alloys and cultured for up to 35 days. Cell morphology, proliferation and differentiation were evaluated. The cells display good adhesion and proliferation on the uncoated substrates, whereas the presence of hydroxyapatite coating slightly reduces cell proliferation and induces differentiation of MSCs towards a phenotypic osteoblastic lineage, in agreement with the increase of the expression of osteopontin, osteonectin and collagen type I, evaluated by means of rt-PCR. Type I collagen expression is higher in Ti13Nb13Zr MSC culture compared to Ti6A14V, standing for a more efficient extracellular matrix deposition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-221
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research - Part A
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2007


  • Coating
  • Nanocrystalline hydroxyapatite
  • Ostegenic markers
  • Proliferation
  • Ti alloys

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biomaterials


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