Open Access Open Badges Research

In vitro behaviour of endothelial cells on a titanium surface

Ana Cristina Breithaupt-Faloppa1, Wothan Tavares de Lima1, Ricardo Martins Oliveira-Filho1 and Johannes Kleinheinz2*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Pharmacology, Institute of Biomedical Sciences, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil

2 Department for Cranio-Maxillofacial Surgery, University Hospital Muenster, Germany

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Head & Face Medicine 2008, 4:14  doi:10.1186/1746-160X-4-14

Published: 23 July 2008



Endothelial cells play an important role in the delivery of cells to the inflammation site, chemotaxis, cell adhesion and extravasation. Implantation of a foreign material into the human body determines inflammatory and repair reactions, involving different cell types with a plethora of released chemical mediators. The evaluation of the interaction of endothelial cells and implanted materials must take into account other parameters in addition to the analysis of maintenance of cell viability.


In the present investigation, we examined the behavior of human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) harvested on titanium (Ti), using histological and immunohistochemical methods. The cells, after two passages, were seeded in a standard density on commercially plate-shaped titanium pieces, and maintained for 1, 7 or 14 days.


After 14 days, we could observe a confluent monolayer of endothelial cells (ECs) on the titanium surface. Upon one-day Ti/cell contact the expression of fibronectin was predominantly cytoplasmatic and stronger than on the control surface. It was observed strong and uniform cell expression along the time of α5β1 integrin on the cells in contact with titanium.


The attachment of ECs on titanium was found to be related to cellular-derived fibronectin and the binding to its specific receptor, the α5β1 integrin. It was observed that titanium effectively serves as a suitable substrate for endothelial cell attachment, growth and proliferation. However, upon a 7-day contact with Ti, the Weibel-Palade bodies appeared to be not fully processed and exhibited an anomalous morphology, with corresponding alterations of PECAM-1 localization.