Enhancement of osteoblast activity on nanostructured NiTi/hydroxyapatite coatings on additive manufactured NiTi metal implants by nanosecond pulsed laser sintering

Biwei Deng, Angela Bruzzaniti, Gary J. Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations


Background: The osteoinductive behaviors of nitinol (NiTi)-based metal implants for bone regeneration are largely dependent on their surface composition and topology. Continuous-mode laser sintering often results in complete melting of the materials and aggregation of particles, which lack control of heat transfer, as well as microstructural changes during sintering of the nanocomposite materials. Methods: In the current study, in situ direct laser deposition was used to additively manufacture three-dimensional NiTi structures from Ni and Ti powders. The mechanical property of NiTi has been shown to be similar to bone. Nanosecond pulsed laser sintering process was then utilized to generate a nanoporous composite surface with NiTi alloy and hydroxyapatite (HA) by ultrafast laser heating and cooling of Ni, Ti, and HA nanoparticles mixtures precoated on the 3D NiTi substrates; HA was added in order to improve the biocompatibility of the alloy. We then studied the underlying mechanism in the formation of NiTi/HA nanocomposite, and the synergistic effect of the sintered HA component and the nanoporous topology of the composite coating. In addition, we examined the activity of bone-forming osteoblasts on the NiTi/HA surfaces. For this, osteoblast cell morphology and various biomarkers were examined to evaluate cellular activity and function. Results: We found that the nanoscale porosity delivered by nanosecond pulsed laser sintering and the HA component positively contributed to osteoblast differentiation, as indicated by an increase in the expression of collagen and alkaline phosphatase, both of which are necessary for osteoblast mineralization. In addition, we observed topological complexities which appeared to boost the activity of osteoblasts, including an increase in actin cytoskeletal structures and adhesion structures. Conclusion: These findings demonstrate that the pulsed laser sintering method is an effective tool to generate biocompatible coatings in complex alloy-composite material systems with desired composition and topology. Our findings also provide a better understanding of the osteoinductive behavior of the sintered nanocomposite coatings for use in orthopedic and bone regeneration applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8217-8230
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Nanomedicine
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


  • Alkaline phosphatase
  • Biocompatibility
  • Bone regeneration
  • Differentiation
  • Metal implants
  • Osteoinductive behavior
  • Pulsed laser coating

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery
  • Organic Chemistry

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Enhancement of osteoblast activity on nanostructured NiTi/hydroxyapatite coatings on additive manufactured NiTi metal implants by nanosecond pulsed laser sintering'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this