ACS Omega. 2022 Dec 7;7(50):47070-47077. doi: 10.1021/acsomega.2c06175. eCollection 2022 Dec 20.
Implant-associated infections (IAI) are a common cause for implant failure, increased medical costs, and critical for patient healthcare. Infections are a result of bacterial colonization, which leads to biofilm formation on the implant surface. Nanostructured surfaces have been shown to have the potential to inhibit bacterial adhesion mainly due to antibacterial efficacy of their unique surface nanotopography. The change in topography affects the physicochemical properties of their surface such as surface chemistry, morphology, wettability, surface charge, and even electric field which influences the biological response. In this study, a conventional and cost-effective hydrothermal method was used to fabricate nanoscale protrusions of various dimensions on the surface of Ti, Ti6Al4V, and NiTi materials, commonly used in biomedical applications. The morphology, surface chemistry, and wettability were analyzed using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), X-ray photoemission spectroscopy (XPS), and water contact angle analysis. The antibacterial efficacy of the synthesized nanostructures was analyzed by the use of Escherichia coli bacterial strain. XPS analysis revealed that the concentration of oxygen and titanium increased on Ti and Ti6Al4V, which indicates that TiO2 is formed on the surface. The concentration of oxygen and titanium however decreased on the NiTi surface after hydrothermal treatment, and also a small amount of Ni was detected. SEM analysis showed that by hydrothermal treatment alterations in the surface topography of the TiO2 layer could be achieved. The oxide layer on the NiTi prepared by the hydrothermal method contains a low amount of Ni (2.8 atom %), which is especially important for implantable materials. The results revealed that nanostructured surfaces significantly reduced bacterial adhesion on the Ti, Ti6Al4V, and NiTi surface compared to the untreated surfaces used as a control. Furthermore, two sterilization techniques were also studied to evaluate the stability of the nanostructure and its influence on the antibacterial activity. Sterilization with UV light seems to more efficiently inhibit bacterial growth on the hydrothermally modified Ti6Al4V surface, which was further reduced for hydrothermally treated Ti and NiTi. The developed nanostructured surfaces of Ti and its alloys can pave a way for the fabrication of antibacterial surfaces that reduce the likelihood of IAI.