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A Review of the Impact of Implant Biomaterials on Osteocytes

Review article
Authors Furqan A. Shah
Peter Thomsen
Anders Palmquist
Published in Journal of Dental Research
Volume 97
Issue 9
Pages 977-986
ISSN 0022-0345
Publication year 2018
Published at Institute of Clinical Sciences, Department of Biomaterials
Pages 977-986
Language en
Keywords osseointegration, bone, dental implants, bone matrix, biocompatible materials, bone-implant, dental implants, titanium implants, electron-microscopy, canalicular, system, bone regeneration, loaded implants, rat model, interface, density, osseointegration, Dentistry, Oral Surgery & Medicine
Subject categories Biomaterials Science


In lamellar bone, a network of highly oriented interconnected osteocytes is organized in concentric layers. Through their cellular processes contained within canaliculi, osteocytes are highly mechanosensitive and locally modulate bone remodeling. We review the recent developments demonstrating the significance of the osteocyte lacuno-canalicular network in bone maintenance around implant biomaterials. Drilling during implant site preparation triggers osteocyte apoptosis, the magnitude of which correlates with drilling speed and heat generation, resulting in extensive remodeling and delayed healing. In peri-implant bone, osteocytes physically communicate with implant surfaces via canaliculi and are responsive to mechanical loading, leading to changes in osteocyte numbers and morphology. Certain implant design features allow peri-implant osteocytes to retain a less aged phenotype, despite highly advanced extracellular matrix maturation. Physicochemical properties of anodically oxidized surfaces stimulate bone formation and remodeling by regulating the expression of RANKL (receptor activator of nuclear factor-B ligand), RANK, and OPG (osteoprotegerin) from implant-adherent cells. Modulation of certain osteocyte-related molecular signaling mechanisms (e.g., sclerostin blockade) may enhance the biomechanical anchorage of implants. Evaluation of the peri-implant osteocyte lacuno-canalicular network should therefore be a necessary component in future investigations of osseointegration to more completely characterize the biological response to materials for load-bearing applications in dentistry and orthopedics.

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