The Effects of Particulate Cobalt, Chromium and Cobalt-Chromium Alloy on Human Osteoblast-Like Cells in Vitro

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Particulate wear debris can induce the release of bone-resorbing cytokines from cultured macrophages and fibroblasts in vitro, and these mediators are believed to be the cause of the periprosthetic bone resorption which leads to aseptic loosening in vivo. Much less is known about the effects of particulate debris on the growth and metabolism of osteoblastic cells.We exposed two human osteoblast-like cell lines (SaOS-2 and MG-63) to particulate cobalt, chromium and cobalt-chromium alloy at concentrations of 0, 0.01, 0.1 and 1.0 mg/ml. Cobalt was toxic to both cell lines and inhibited the production of type-I collagen, osteocalcin and alkaline phosphatase. Chromium and cobalt-chromium were well tolerated by both cell lines, producing no cytotoxicity and no inhibition of type-I collagen synthesis. At the highest concentration tested (1.0 mg/ml), however, chromium inhibited alkaline phosphatase activity, and both chromium and cobalt-chromium alloy inhibited osteocalcin expression.Our results clearly show that particulate metal debris can modulate the growth and metabolism of osteoblastic cells in vitro. Reduced osteoblastic activity at the bone-implant interface may be an important mechanism by which particulate wear debris influences the pathogenesis of aseptic loosening in vivo.J Bone Joint Surg [Br] 1997;79-B:475-82.

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