Mechanism and Prevention of Titanium Particle-Induced Inflammation and Osteolysis

Michal Eger, Sahar Hiram-Bab, Tamar Liron, Nir Sterer, Yaron Carmi, David Kohavi, Yankel Gabet*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The worldwide number of dental implants and orthopedic prostheses is steadily increasing. Orthopedic implant loosening, in the absence of infection, is mostly attributable to the generation of wear debris. Dental peri-implantitis is characterized by a multifactorial etiology and is the main cause of implant failure. It consists of a peri-implant inflammatory lesion that often results in loss of supporting bone. Disease management includes cleaning the surrounding flora by hand instruments, ultrasonic tips, lasers, or chemical agents. We recently published a paper indicating that US scaling of titanium (Ti) implants releases particles that provoke an inflammatory response and osteolysis. Here we show that a strong inflammatory response occurs; however, very few of the titanium particles are phagocytosed by the macrophages. We then measured a dramatic Ti particle-induced stimulation of IL1β, IL6, and TNFα secretion by these macrophages using multiplex immunoassay. The particle-induced expression profile, examined by FACS, also indicated an M1 macrophage polarization. To assess how the secreted cytokines contributed to the paracrine exacerbation of the inflammatory response and to osteoclastogenesis, we treated macrophage/preosteoclast cultures with neutralizing antibodies against IL1β, IL6, or TNFα. We found that anti-TNFα antibodies attenuated the overall expression of both the inflammatory cytokines and osteoclastogenesis. On the other hand, anti-IL1β antibodies affected osteoclastogenesis but not the paracrine expression of inflammatory cytokines, whereas anti-IL6 antibodies did the opposite. We then tested these neutralizing antibodies in vivo using our mouse calvarial model of Ti particle-induced osteolysis and microCT analysis. Here, all neutralizing antibodies, administered by intraperitoneal injection, completely abrogated the particle-induced osteolysis. This suggests that blockage of paracrine inflammatory stimulation and osteoclastogenesis are similarly effective in preventing bone resorption induced by Ti particles. Blocking both the inflammation and osteoclastogenesis by anti-TNFα antibodies, incorporated locally into a slow-release membrane, also significantly prevented osteolysis. The osteolytic inflammatory response, fueled by ultrasonic scaling of Ti implants, results from an inflammatory positive feedback loop and osteoclastogenic stimulation. Our findings suggest that blocking IL1β, IL6, and/or TNFα systemically or locally around titanium implants is a promising therapeutic approach for the clinical management of peri-implant bone loss.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2963
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
StatePublished - 18 Dec 2018


  • cytokines
  • dental implants
  • macrophages
  • osteoclasts
  • peri-implantitis


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