Biomaterials, once inserted in the oral cavity, become immed
Biomaterials, once inserted in the oral cavity, become immediately covered by a layer of adsorbed proteins that consists mostly of salivary proteins but also of plasma proteins if the biomaterial is placed close to the gingival margin or if it becomes implanted into tissue and bone. It is often this protein layer, rather than the pristine biomaterial surface, that is subsequently encountered by colonizing bacteria or attaching tissue cells. Thus, to study this important initial protein adsorption from human saliva and serum and how it might be influenced through chemical modification of the biomaterial surface, researchers have measured the amount of protein adsorbed and analyzed the composition of the adsorbed protein layer using gel electrophoresis and western blotting. Here, researchers have developed an in vitro model system based on silica surfaces, chemically modified with 7 silane-based self-assembled monolayers that span a broad range of physicochemical properties, from hydrophilic to hydrophobic surfaces (water contact angles from 15° to 115°), low to high surface free energy (12 to 57 mN/m), and negative to positive surface charge (zeta potentials from –120 to +40 mV at physiologic pH). Researchers found that the chemical surface functionalities exerted a substantial effect on the total amounts of proteins adsorbed; however, no linear correlation of the adsorbed amounts with the physicochemical surface parameters was observed. Only the adsorption behavior of a few singular protein components, from which physicochemical data are available, seems to follow physicochemical expectations. Examples are albumin in serum and lysozyme in saliva; in both, adsorption was favored on countercharged surfaces. They conclude from these findings that in complex biofluids such as saliva and serum, adsorption behavior is dominated by the overall protein-binding capacity of the surface rather than by specific physicochemical interactions of single protein entities with the surface.