Effects of titanium(IV) ions on human monocyte-derived dendritic cells

E.P.H. Chan, Amir Mhawi, Peta Clode, Martin Saunders, Luis Filgueira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Orthopaedic metal implants composed of titanium are routinely used in bone fracture repair and for joint replacement therapies. A considerable fraction of implant recipients are unable to benefit due to implant failure resulting from aseptic loosening, while others may experience cutaneous sensitivity to titanium after implantation. An adaptive immune reactivity towards titanium ions, originating from the biocorrosion of the implants, could play a role. As an initiator of the adaptive immune response, dendritic cells (DC) were studied for uptake and characteristics after titanium exposure. Energy filtered transmission electron microscopy showed uptake of titanium(IV) (Ti(IV)) ions by DCs in vitro and co-localisation with phosphorus-rich cell structures of the DC membranes (phospholipids), cytoplasm (ribosomes and phosphorylated proteins) and the nucleus (DNA). DC maturation and function were investigated by measuring cell surface marker expression by flow cytometry. After exposure, DCs showed a decrease in MHC class II (HLA-DR), co-stimulatory molecules (CD40, CD80 & CD86) and chemokine receptors (CCR) 6 and CCR7 but an increase in CCR4 after Ti(IV) treatment. However, Ti(IV) treated DCs had an increased stimulatory capacity towards allogenic lymphocytes. A Ti(IV) concentration dependant increase of IL-12p70 was observed amidst decrease of the other measured cytokines (TGF-β1 and TGF-β2). Hence, Ti(IV) alters DC properties, resulting in an enhanced T lymphocyte reactivity and deviation towards a Th1 type immune response. This effect may be responsible for the inflammatory side effects of titanium implants seen in patients.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)166-174
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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