Corrosion characteristics dictate the long-term inflammatory profile of degradable zinc arterial implants

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Department of Biomedical Engineering; Department of Materials Science and Engineering


There has been considerable recent interest to develop a feasible bioresorbable stent (BRS) metal. Although zinc and its alloys have many potential advantages, the inflammatory response has not been carefully examined. Using a modified wire implantation model, we characterize the inflammatory response elicited by zinc at high purity (4N) [99.99%], special high grade (SHG)[∼99.7%], and alloyed with 1 wt % (Zn-1Al), 3% (Zn-3Al), and 5.5% (Zn-5Al) aluminum. We found that inflammatory cells were able to penetrate the thick and porous corrosion layer that quickly formed around SHG, Zn-1Al, Zn-3Al, and Zn-5Al implants. In contrast, a delayed entrance of inflammatory cells into the corrosion layer around 4N zinc due to a significantly lower corrosion rate was associated with greater fibrous encapsulation, appearance of necrotic regions, and increased macrophage labeling. Interestingly, cell viability at the interface decreased from SHG, to Zn-1Al, and then Zn-3Al, a trend associated with an increased CD68 and CD11b labeling and capsule thickness. Potentially, the shift to intergranular corrosion due to the aluminum addition increased the activity of macrophages. We conclude that the ability of macrophages to penetrate and remain viable within the corrosion layer may be of fundamental importance for eliciting biocompatible inflammatory responses around corrodible metals.

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ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering