Sodium-azide versus ProClin 300: Influence on the morphology of UHMWPE particles generated in laboratory tests

S. Affatato, G. Bersaglia, D. Emiliani, I. Foltran, A. Toni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Ultra-high molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) has been used in total joint replacement for the last three decades and is currently the best polymer available for this use. Nevertheless, the wear of UHMWPE remains a serious clinical problem. Polyethylene wear debris has been identified as a cause of osteolysis and a major factor reducing the life of the total hip arthroplasty. Debris generated at the articular surfaces enters the periprostethic tissue where it is phagocyted by macrophages. Studies have shown that particles in the 0.1-10μm size range are particularly important in causing adverse cellular reactions resulting in osteolysis. The morphology, size, mass, and number of wear particles produced in a hip joint simulator are influenced by the tribological conditions used during the experiment. This paper shows that the morphology of the UHMWPE particles generated in vitro is influenced by the type of lubricant used. This study compared, quantitatively and qualitatively, particles generated in vitro using bovine calf serum as lubricant with two different preservatives: sodium azide and ProClin 300. No significant difference was observed with regards to wear between the two types of lubricant used. Quantitative analysis of the wear particles showed that particles generated in serum with sodium azide were morphologically different from those produced in serum with ProClin 300. Furthermore, the particles produced in serum with sodium azide were more similar to those found in retrieved acetabular cups.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)835-842
Number of pages8
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2004



  • Contact angle
  • Polyethylene wear particles
  • ProClin 300
  • Serum with ProClin
  • Serum with sodium-azide
  • Sodium-azide
  • Wettability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering

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