This article describes the development of a partially degradable metal bone pin, proposed to minimize the occurrence of bone refracture by avoiding the creation of holes in the bone after pin removal procedure. The pin was made by friction welding and composed of two parts: the degradable part that remains in the bone and the nondegradable part that will be removed as usual. Rods of stainless steel 316L (nondegradable) and pure iron (degradable) were friction welded at the optimum parameters: forging pressure = 33.2 kPa, friction time = 25 s, burn-off length = 15 mm, and heat input = 4.58 J/s. The optimum tensile strength and elongation was registered at 666 MPa and 13%, respectively. A spiral defect formation was identified as the cause for the ductile fracture of the weld joint. A 40-µm wide intermetallic zone was identified along the fusion line having a distinct composition of Cr, Ni, and Mo. The corrosion rate of the pin gradually decreased from the undeformed zone of pure iron to the undeformed zone of stainless steel 316L. All metallurgical zones of the pin showed no toxic effect toward normal human osteoblast cells, confirming the ppb level of released Cr and Ni detected in the cell media were tolerable.
The recent proposal of using Zn-based alloys for biodegradable implants was not supported with sufficient toxicity data. This work, for the first time, presents a thorough cytotoxicity evaluation of Zn-3Mg alloy for biodegradable bone implants. Normal human osteoblast cells were exposed to the alloy's extract and three main cell-material interaction parameters: cell health, functionality and inflammatory response, were evaluated. Results showed that at the concentration of 0.75mg/ml alloy extract, cell viability was reduced by ~50% through an induction of apoptosis at day 1; however, cells were able to recover at days 3 and 7. Cytoskeletal changes were observed but without any significant DNA damage. The downregulation of alkaline phosphatase protein levels did not significantly affect the mineralization process of the cells. Significant differences of cyclooxygenase-2 and prostaglandin E2 inflammatory biomarkers were noticed, but not interleukin 1-beta, indicating that the cells underwent a healing process after exposure to the alloy. Detailed analysis on the cell-material interaction is further discussed in this paper.
This article reports the in vitro degradation and cytotoxicity assessment of Zn-3Mg alloy developed for biodegradable bone implants. The alloy was prepared using casting, and its microstructure was composed of Mg2Zn11 intermetallic phase distributed within a Zn-rich matrix. The degradation assessment was done using potentiodynamic polarization and electrochemical impedance spectrometry. The cell viability and the function of normal human osteoblast cells were assessed using 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-5-(3-carboxymethoxyphenyl)-2-(4-sulfophenyl)-2H-tetrazolium and alkaline phosphatase extracellular enzyme activity assays. The results showed that the degradation rate of the alloy was slower than those of pure Zn and pure Mg due to the formation of a high polarization resistance oxide film. The alloy was cytocompatible with the normal human osteoblast cells at low concentrations (<0.5 mg/mL), and its alkaline phosphatase activity was superior to pure Mg. This assessment suggests that Zn-3Mg alloy has the potential to be developed as a material for biodegradable bone implants, but the toxicity limit must be carefully observed.