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Hydroxyapatite (HA) coatings have been used to improve implant fixation by promoting bone formation around the prosthesis. A macrophage response to HA particulates has been noted around loosened HA-coated prostheses. As biomaterial wear particle-associated macrophages are known to be capable of differentiating into osteoclasts that are capable of bone resorption, we examined whether particulate HA could similarly induce macrophage-osteoclast differentiation. HA-associated macrophages were isolated from granulomas, formed by subcutaneous implantation of HA, and co-cultured with UMR 106 osteoblast-like cells in the presence of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D(3) for up to 14 days on glass coverslips and bone slices. HA-associated macrophage-osteoclast differentiation was evidenced by the formation of numerous multinucleated tartrate resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP)-positive cells which formed lacunar resorption pits on bone slices. Polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) particle-associated macrophages, isolated from subcutaneous PMMA-containing granulomas, caused significantly more osteoclast formation and bone resorption than HA-associated macrophages. These results indicate that macrophages responding to HA particles are capable of osteoclast differentiation. They also suggest that particles derived from uncemented (HA-coated) implants are likely to induce less osteoclast formation and osteolysis than cemented implants.

Original publication




Journal article


J mater sci mater med

Publication Date





659 - 664