Bioactive Implant with Garlic Enhances Healing and Fights Infection

Jenn Hoskins
7th April, 2024

Bioactive Implant with Garlic Enhances Healing and Fights Infection

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • In Tehran, a study improved titanium bone implants by adding garlic extract to fight infection
  • Garlic-loaded nanotubes on the implant surface reduced bacteria and supported bone cell health
  • The right amount of garlic extract enhances cell viability, crucial for implant-bone integration
The medical community is continually seeking to improve the effectiveness of bone implants, and a recent study by researchers at the University of Tehran[1] may represent a significant step forward. Titanium implants are a common solution for bone defects, but they can be prone to infection and may not integrate well with bone tissue. Addressing these issues, the study explores a novel approach to enhance both the antibacterial properties and the osseointegration of titanium implants. The researchers have developed titanium oxide nanotubes (TNTs) on the surface of titanium implants and loaded them with an antibacterial agent—garlic extract. Garlic is well-known for its antibacterial properties, which are mainly attributed to its sulfur-containing compounds. In this study, the garlic extract was prepared using a low-temperature process and ultrasound waves to ensure the preservation of these bioactive compounds. The TNTs were created on the Ti6Al4V alloy, a material commonly used for implants, through a process called anodic oxidation. This technique creates a pattern of nanoscale tubes on the implant's surface, which can hold the garlic extract. The presence of these nanotubes was confirmed using various advanced imaging and analysis techniques, including XRD, EDS, and SEM. The antibacterial effectiveness of the garlic-loaded TNTs was tested against two common bacterial strains that can cause infections in implants: E. coli and S. aureus. The results were promising, showing a significant decrease in bacterial growth for both strains. This indicates that the garlic extract retained its antibacterial properties even when loaded into the nanotubes. However, the study didn't stop at antibacterial properties. The researchers also evaluated the impact of the garlic extract on the viability and adhesion of bone cells, which are critical factors for the successful integration of the implant with the bone. Using an MTT assay, they found that a lower concentration of garlic extract (0.1 g per milliliter) increased cell viability by 8%, while a higher concentration (0.2 g per milliliter) had a detrimental effect, reducing cell viability by 35%. This suggests that there is an optimal concentration of garlic extract that can promote cell health while still providing antibacterial benefits. These findings build upon previous research that has explored the use of TNTs as drug carriers in bone implants[2]. The controlled release of drugs from TNTs can help to prevent infection and promote bone growth. The current study takes this concept further by using a natural extract as the antibacterial agent, which could offer a more biocompatible alternative to synthetic drugs. The research also ties in with earlier studies on the surface modification of titanium implants. A prior study[3] developed hybrid coatings to improve osseointegration, showing that surface morphology can significantly impact protein adsorption and cellular interactions. The TNTs loaded with garlic extract could be seen as an extension of this approach, combining surface modification with drug delivery to enhance implant performance. Moreover, the study aligns with the broader field of biomaterials research that investigates the role of electric fields and piezoelectricity in tissue regeneration[4]. While the current study does not directly involve piezoelectric materials, it shares the underlying goal of creating a more conducive environment for tissue healing and integration. In conclusion, the University of Tehran's study presents a promising advancement in the field of bone implants. By loading TNTs with garlic extract, the researchers have created a surface that not only resists bacterial growth but also supports the viability and adhesion of bone cells. This dual-function approach could lead to implants that are less prone to infection and better integrated with the patient's own bone, ultimately improving the outcomes for individuals receiving bone implants.

MedicineBiotechPlant Science


Main Study

1) Evaluation of bioactivity and antibacterial properties of Ti6Al4V-based green biocomposite implant encompassing TiO2 nanotube arrays and garlic extract.

Published 15th April, 2024 (future Journal edition)

Related Studies

2) Titanium dioxide nanotubes as drug carriers for infection control and osteogenesis of bone implants.

3) Promoting Osseointegration of Ti Implants through Micro/Nanoscaled Hierarchical Ti Phosphate/Ti Oxide Hybrid Coating.

4) Smart piezoelectric biomaterials for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine: a review.

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