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8th Combined Meeting Of Orthopaedic Research Societies (CORS)


Summary Statement

Antioxidant containing UHMWPE particles induced similar levels of in vitro macrophage proliferation and in vivo inflammation in the mouse air pouch model as UHMWPE particles alone. Benefit of antioxidant in reducing wear particle induced inflammation requires further investigation.


Wear particles derived from UHMWPE implants can provoke inflammatory reaction and cause osteolysis in the bone, leading to aseptic implant loosening. Antioxidants have been incorporated into UHMWPE implants to improve their long term oxidative stability. However it is unclear if the anti-inflammatory property of the antioxidant could reduce UHMWPE particle induced inflammation. This study evaluated the effect of cyanidin and vitamin E on UHMWPE induced macrophage activation and mouse air pouch inflammation.


Four types of UHMWPE were used: (1) compression molded (CM) conventional GUR1020 (PE); (2) CM GUR1020 blended with 300 ppm cyanidin (C-PE); (3) CM GUR1020 blended with 1000 ppm α-tocopherol (BE-PE); and (4) CM GUR1020, gamma irradiated at 100kGy, diffused with α-tocopherol, and sterilised at 30kGy (DE-PE). Particles were generated by cryomilling. Particle count, size, and aspect ratio were determined using SEM and Image Pro. Each particle group was cultured with RAW264.7 macrophage cells at four concentrations (0.625, 1.25, 2.5, and 5 μg/mL) in a standard medium for 4 days. Cell numbers were quantified using MTT assay. Cytokine expression (IL-1β, TNFα, and IL-6) was measured using RT-PCR and ELISA. Particles were also suspended in PBS at 2 concentrations (0.2 or 1 mg) and injected into subcutaneous air pouches in BALB/c mice. Control animals were injected with PBS alone. Six days post-injection air pouches were harvested, half of which were fixed for histology to measure membrane thickness and inflammatory cell quantity. Remaining air pouches were frozen and analyzed by ELISA for cytokine production. Data were analyzed using one-way ANOVA with post hoc testing. P<0.05 was considered significant.


All 4 materials showed similar particle characteristics after cryomilling. Particle size ranged from 1 to 19 μm with 33% of particle population smaller than 2 μm. All particle groups supported macrophage proliferation, showing an inverse correlation between proliferation rate and particle dose. Gene expression of IL-1β and TNFα also showed an inverse correlation with particle dose. Expression of IL-1β, TNFα, and IL-6 appeared lower in cells cultured with C-PE than the other 3 materials. The accumulative protein productions of IL-1β and TNFα were significantly lower while IL-6 production was moderately lower in C-PE, BE-PE and DE-PE when compared to PE. Injection of polyethylene particles increased the air pouch membrane thickness significantly compared to the PBS control in all particle types and doses. Higher particle dose induced thicker membrane in all 4 materials. A similar trend was also observed in the percentage of inflammatory cell infiltration in the pouch membrane. C-PE and DE-PE particles at low dose and C-PE particles at high dose induced lower levels of IL-1β and TNFα than PE. IL-6 production was similar between PE and other 3 groups.


Antioxidant incorporated in UHMWPE did not alter the level of macrophage proliferation and air pouch inflammation induced by UHMWPE particles, although it reduced cytokine gene expression. Future investigation in a synovial joint environment is desired to evaluate the chronic inflammation response to antioxidant containing UHMWPE wear particles and to verify the effect of antioxidant in UHMWPE properties.