Wear particles generated after total joint arthroplasty activate monocyte/macrophages and incite formation of a granulomatous periprosthetic tissue associated with bone loss and implant loosening. This study tested the hypothesis that selective opsonization of orthopedic implant biomaterial wear particles by human serum proteins influences monocyte/macrophage activation. Serum protein binding to metallic, polymeric, and ceramic particles was determined by one-dimensional sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE). Individual proteins bound to particles were subsequently identified using two-dimensional SDS-PAGE, microsequencing techniques, and SWISS-PROT analysis. Effects of selective protein opsonization on particle-induced monocyte/macrophage activation were assessed by quantification of interleukin-1beta, interleukin-6, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha release. Results from one-dimensional gel analyses revealed distinct serum protein-binding patterns specific for each material tested. Two-dimensional gel analysis together with amino acid sequencing of the prominent protein species confirmed the presence of albumin and alpha-1-antitrypsin bound to all particles tested. In contrast to the metallic particles, apolipoprotein was a major species associated with polymeric particles. Opsonization of PMMA particles with purified preparations of each of the identified proteins showed that albumin significantly enhanced particle-induced monocyte/macrophage activation. These data confirm orthopedic biomaterial specific binding of human serum proteins and demonstrate that albumin exacerbates particle-induced monocyte/macrophage activation. Alterations in the chemical and surface properties of orthopedic biomaterials to modulate protein interactions may improve implant longevity.
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