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Impact of nitinol stent surface processing on in-vivo nickel release and biological response

Publication date:

Available online 27 March 2018


Source:Acta Biomaterialia

Author(s): Srinidhi Nagaraja, Stacey J.L. Sullivan, Philip R. Stafford, Anne D. Lucas, Elon Malkin

Although nitinol is widely used in percutaneous cardiovascular interventions, a causal relationship between nickel released from implanted cardiovascular devices and adverse systemic or local biological responses has not been established. The objective of this study was to investigate the relationship between nitinol surface processing, in-vivo nickel release, and biocompatibility. Nitinol stents manufactured using select surface treatments were implanted into the iliac arteries of minipigs for 6 months. Clinical chemistry profile, complete blood count, serum and urine nickel analyses were performed periodically during the implantation period. After explant, stented arteries were either digested and analyzed for local nickel concentration or fixed and sectioned for histopathological analysis of stenosis and inflammation within the artery. The results indicated that markers for liver and kidney function were not different than baseline values throughout 180 days of implantation regardless of surface finish. In addition, white blood cell, red blood cell, and platelet counts were similar to baseline values for all surface finishes. Systemic nickel concentrations in serum and urine were not significantly different between processing groups and comparable to baseline values during 180 days of implantation. However, stents with non-optimized surface finishing had significantly greater nickel levels in the surrounding artery compared to polished stents. These stents had increased stenosis with potential for local inflammation compared to polished stents. These findings demonstrate that proper polishing of nitinol surfaces can reduce in-vivo nickel release locally, which may aid in minimizing adverse inflammatory reactions and restenosis. Statement of significance Nitinol is a commonly used material in cardiovascular medical devices. However, relationships between nitinol surface finishing, in-vivo metal ion release, and adverse biological responses have yet to be established. We addressed this knowledge gap by implanting single and overlapped nitinol stents with different surface finishes to assess systemic impact on minipigs (i.e. serum and urine nickel levels, liver and kidney function, immune and blood count) over the 6 month implantation period. In addition, nickel levels and histopathology in stented arteries were analyzed on explant to determine relationships between surface processing and local adverse tissue reactions. The findings presented here highlight the importance of surface processing on in-vivo nickel release and subsequent impact on local biological response for nitinol implants.
Graphical abstract




Authors:   Author(s): Srinidhi Nagaraja, Stacey J.L. Sullivan, Philip R. Stafford, Anne D. Lucas, Elon Malkin
Journal:   Acta Biomaterialia
Volume:   72
Year:   2018
Pages:   424
DOI:   10.1016/j.actbio.2018.03.036
Publication date:   08-Apr-2018
Facts, background information, dossiers
  • nickel
  • stents
  • blood
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