Aseptic loosening of total joint replacements (TJRs) continues to be the main cause of implant failures. The socioeconomic impact of surgical revisions is hugely significant; in the United Kingdom alone, it is estimated that £137 m is spent annually on revision arthroplasties. Enhancing the longevity of titanium implants will help reduce the incidence and overall cost of failed devices. Methods: In realising the development of a superior titanium technology, we exploited the natural affinity of ti- tanium for phosphonic acids and developed a facile means of coating the metal with (3S)1-fluoro-3-hydroxy-4- (oleoyloxy)butyl-1-phosphonate (FHBP), a phosphatase-resistant analogue of lysophosphatidic acid (LPA). Importantly LPA and selected LPA analogues like FHBP synergistically cooperate with calcitriol to promote human osteoblast formation and maturation. Results: Herein, we provide evidence that simply immersing titanium in aqueous solutions of FHBP afforded a surface that was superior to unmodified metal at enhancing osteoblast maturation. Importantly, FHBP-func- tionalised titanium remained stable to 2 years of ambient storage, resisted ~35 kGy of gamma irradiation and survived implantation into a bone substitute (Sawbone™) and irrigation. Conclusion: The facile step we have taken to modify titanium and the robustness of the final surface finish are appealing properties that are likely to attract the attention of implant manufacturers in the future. The translational potential of this article: We have generated a functionalised titanium (Ti) surface by simply immersing Ti in aqueous solutions of a bioactive lipid. As a facile procedure it will have greater appeal to implant manufacturers compared to onerous and costly developmental processes.
- surface coating