The aim of this study was to compare UV light and non-thermal plasma (NTP) treatment regarding the improvement of physical material characteristics and cell reaction on titanium surfaces in vitro after short-term functionalization.
Material and methods:
Moderately rough (Ra 1.8-2.0 μm) sandblasted and acid-etched titanium disks were treated by UV light (0.05 mW/cm2 at λ = 360 nm and 2 mW/cm2 at λ = 250 nm) or by NTP (24 W, -0.5 mbar) of argon or oxygen for 12 min each. Surface structure was investigated by scanning electron microscopy, confocal microscopy and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). Hydrophilicity was assessed by dynamic contact angle measurement. Cell attachment, viability, cell proliferation and cytotoxicity were assessed in vitro using murine osteoblast-like cells.
UV irradiation or NTP treatment of titanium surfaces did not alter the surface structure. XPS analysis revealed a significantly increased oxidation of the surface and a decrease of carbon after the use of either method. NTP and UV light led to a significant better cell attachment of murine osteoblasts; significantly more osteoblasts grew on the treated surfaces at each time point (p < 0.001).
UV light as well as NTP modified the surface of titanium and significantly improved the conditions for murine osteoblast cells in vitro. However, results indicate a slight advantage for NTP of argon and oxygen in a short time interval of surface functionalization compared to UV.
UV light and NTP are able to improve surface conditions of dental implants made of titanium.