Augmenting the bioactivity of polyetheretherketone using a novel accelerated neutral atom beam technique.

Ajami SCoathup MJKhoury JBlunn GW. J Biomed Mater Res B Appl Biomater. 2017 Aug;105(6):1438-1446. doi: 10.1002/jbm.b.33681. Epub 2016 Apr 18.


Polyetheretherketone (PEEK) is an alternative to metallic implants in orthopedic applications; however, PEEK is bioinert and does not osteointegrate. In this study, an accelerated neutral atom beam technique (ANAB) was employed to improve the bioactivity of PEEK. The aim was to investigate the growth of human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs), human osteoblasts (hOB), and skin fibroblasts (BR3G) on PEEK and ANAB PEEK.


The surface roughness and contact angle of PEEK and ANAB PEEK was measured. Cell metabolic activity, proliferation and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) was measured and cell attachment was determined by quantifying adhesion plaques with cells.


ANAB treatment increased the surface hydrophilicity [91.74 ± 4.80° (PEEK) vs. 74.82 ± 2.70° (ANAB PEEK), p < 0.001] but did not alter the surface roughness. Metabolic activity and proliferation for all cell types significantly increased on ANAB PEEK compared to PEEK (p < 0.05). Significantly increased cell attachment was measured on ANAB PEEK surfaces. MSCs seeded on ANAB PEEK in the presence of osteogenic media, expressed increased levels of ALP compared to untreated PEEK (p < 0.05) CONCLUSION: Our results demonstrated that ANAB treatment increased the cell attachment, metabolic activity, and proliferation on PEEK. ANAB treatment may improve the osteointegration of PEEK implants.

Link: Wiley Online Library