Recently, the research team led by Prof. WANG Huiming from the Zhejiang University Stomatology Hospital published their research findings on the photofunctionalization of TiO2 nanodots and its regulating effects on cells in the ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces. This study was featured as a cover article of the journal.
In this study, the ultraviolet radiant energy (URE)-dependent functionalization was demonstrated on the titanium surfaces. A series of physicochemical changes, e.g the increase of amount and relative ratio of distinct types of photogenerated hydroxyl groups, were induced at the interfaces of the TN surfaces by the enhanced URE. The increasing ratio of terminal −OH attracted ECM proteins with exposed functional sites, which provides effective adhesion ligand bounding to integrins and other receptors. The FAK-RHOA and ERK1/2 signaling pathways were then activated to initiate the proliferation and osteogenic differentiation.
Photofunctionalization is the process where ultraviolet radiation can remarkably enhance the adhesion, proliferation and osteogenic differentiation of cells on TiO2, thereby promoting the osseointegration of implants. However, due to longer treatment time, more demanding equipment and unstable clinical effects, it has not yet been extensively employed in clinical practices. The inadequate understanding of the mechanism of photofunctionalization gets in the way of medical translation. This work provides a potentially novel insight into the mechanisms of photofunctionalization, guiding the design of implants and the future clinical practices of photofunctionalization.