Concentration- and composition-dependent effects of metal ions on human MG-63 osteoblasts

Nadim James Hallab, Csaba Vermes, Carlo Messina, Kenneth A. Roebuck, Tibor T. Glant, Joshua J. Jacobs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

204 Citations (Scopus)


Metal debris from implants has been shown to alter the function of osteoblasts in cell cultures. Its remains unclear, however, if specific forms of released ionic metals are involved in the pathogenesis of periprosthetic osteolysis. We evaluated the relative effects of ionic forms of implant metals by treating human osteoblast-like MG-63 osteosarcoma cells with eight concentrations (0.001-10.0 mM) of Cr+3, Mo+5, Al+3, Ta+5, Co+2, Ni+2, Fe+3, Cu+2, Mn+2, Mg+2, Na+2, and V+3 chloride solutions. The results demonstrated that the metal ions differentially affected osteoblast proliferation, viability, type-I collagen gene expression, and cytokine release. The metal ions were ranked in order from least to most toxic (based on a 50% reduction in viability) as follows: Na < Cr < Mg < Mo < Al < Ta < Co < Ni < Fe < Cu < Mn < V. Metal-induced decreases in osteoblast proliferation were similar in ranking. Nontoxic concentrations of metals had no effect on procollagen α1[I] gene expression; only at toxic concentrations did metals produce a decrease in gene expression. The most toxic metals (V, Mn, Fe, and Ni) were also the only metals found to induce IL-6 secretion on a per cell basis (of the cytokines tested, interleukin 6 (IL-6) interleukin beta 1 (IL-1β), transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGF-β1), and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), only IL-6 was detectable in the culture medium after 48 h for any metal at any concentration). Less toxic metals (e.g., Co and Cr) had little effect on IL-6 release, even at high concentrations. In general, metal ions reduced osteoblast function (i.e., proliferation and collagen gene expression) in proportion to the degree of toxicity. These results support the hypothesis that adverse local cellular responses (particularly necrotic responses) associated with metal debris from implanted metallic devices may be due in part to metal ions released from implants or from particulate debris.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)420-433
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 5 2002


  • Biocompatibility
  • MG-63 osteoblasts
  • Metal ion
  • Metal toxicity
  • Osteolysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering

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