Axel Wilke, Maximilian Landgraff, Joachim Orth, Holger Poenitz, Heino Kienapfel, Kerstin Boelte, Peter Griss and Rolf P. Franke

The objective of this study was to develop a test method for determining the cytotoxicity and biocompatibility of various biomaterials that are used in orthopaedic surgery. This method is based on the use of a human bone marrow cell culture and was developed as an alternative to animal experiments. Human bone marrow cell culture has certain advantages over other cell culture models, as its results show a greater conformity with animal experimental results and clinical studies. Primary cell adherence, cell number, cell proliferation, production of extracellular matrix, cell viability and cell differentiation were used as indicative parameters of biocompatibility. After 2 weeks in culture, differences could be observed between the biomaterials with respect to these parameters. Cell numbers were greatest on the hydroxyapatite ceramic specimens, but were decreased on the titanium alloy specimens. Extracellular matrix hydroxyapatite production was high for ceramics, but reduced for titanium specimens. The polymers allowed only a few cells to adhere, and there were no signs of extracellular matrix production. The influence of biomaterials on differentiation of large numbers of cells was analysed by using flow cytophotometry. There were similar populations of T cells and monocytes on all specimens. However, extended B cell and granulocyte populations were observed with titanium and polyethylene.
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