Cell Biology

The research group "Cell Biology" investigates the biology of adult stem cells, immune cells, endothelial precursors and fibroblasts as well as their possible role in musculoskeletal tissue regeneration. We are looking at the interaction between cells, mechanics and the extracellular matrix. Furthermore, we are concentrating on alterations of intrinsic cell functions in response to extrinsic stimuli, such as age or an altered immune response. Our long-term goal is to develop new therapeutic approaches to improve musculoskeletal tissue regeneration, especially for impaired healing cases.

You are here:

Toxicological assessment of implant materials

We are investigating the causes of aseptic implant failure due to wear and corrosion to keep patients‘ safety high

Representative TEM image of nanoscale wear particles from a stemmed, cementless hip implant with metal-on-metal articulation.

Besides septic complications, another major problem in joint arthroplasty is early aseptic implant failure induced by wear and corrosion products from implant materials. To identify the responsible trigger and its thresholds for adverse effects, we established methods to assess the exposure to metallic wear products in intraoperatively harvested samples. This comprises metal level determination in various tissues of the periprosthetic region as well as the physicochemical characterization of in vivo generated wear particles. Furthermore, we analyze primary cells of the musculoskeletal system in a setup for cytotoxicity testing, to evaluate the cells’ functionality and viability after in vivo exposure to wear products or after in vitro exposure in clinically relevant metal concentrations. By learning more about the biocompatibility of commonly and newly used orthopedic implant materials, we follow the overall aim to keep patients' safety high.

Featured Publication

  • Schoon J, Geissler S, Traeger J, Luch A, Tentschert J, Perino G, Schulze F, Duda GN, Perka C, Rakow A

    Multi-elemental nanoparticle exposure after tantalum component failure in hip arthroplasty: In-depth analysis of a single case

    Porous tantalum components are widely used for complex acetabular reconstructions in revision hip arthroplasty. Multiple other metal alloys such as titanium-aluminum-vanadium or cobalt-chromium-molybdenum are principally used in artificial joint setups. We report a case of tantalum component failure being both cause and effect of a multiple metal exposure. Our aims were to assess and to characterize associated particle exposure and biological consequences. Metal level quantification revealed substantial in vivo exposure to particulate and dissociated tantalum, zirconium, chromium, cobalt, molybdenum, titanium, aluminum and vanadium in periprosthetic compartments. Aside from micron-sized particles, nanoparticles of a broad size range and elemental composition were obtained. Histological exams verified a spectrum of necrotic changes in the periprosthetic tissues. In the presented case tantalum release was accompanied by concomitance of particles originating from other utilized metals. We conclude that an overall in vivo exposure assessment is mandatory for realistic appraisal of metal toxicity and associated risks.

    Nanomedicine 2017; 13(8):2415-2423.

Dr.-Ing. Sven Geißler

Principal Investigator - Cell Biology