Effect of radio frequency glow-discharge treatment of titanium on human gingival fibroblasts as a function of distance

Aya Ali*, Michelle B. Visser, Mark T. Ehrensberger, Anne E. Meyer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The mechanical stability and long-term success of an implant depends on the early healing phase and osseointegration of the bone around it. In addition, a healthy gingival tissue around the implant acts as a barrier that prevents bacteria and pathological byproducts from reaching the implant site. This study investigated the in-vitro attachment and spreading of human gingival fibroblasts (HGF) on bacterial grade polystyrene (PS) at different distances from radio-frequency glow-discharge (RFGD)-treated commercially pure titanium (cpTi) specimens. Controls included sterile cpTi specimens without RFGD treatment. A second set of experiments utilized media transferred to new bacterial grade polystyrene dishes (no cpTi) after the medium was conditioned by exposure to cpTi, either with or without RFGD treatment, for 24 hr. Surface characterization of the dishes was conducted through contact angle measurements and infrared spectroscopy. Cell numbers and surface areas were determined from Image J analysis of multiple microscopic images of fixed, stained cells. The results showed significantly greater numbers and surface areas on bacterial grade PS dishes at distances up to 15 mm from the RFGD-treated cpTi groups than for the controls. Moreover, a significant effect of the conditioned medium from RFGD-treated cpTi versus control cultures was shown on the numbers of fibroblasts attached to bacterial grade polystyrene dishes after 24 hr (p < 0.005) and 48 hr (p = 0.002) incubation. Surface areas of cells exposed to conditioned medium were not significantly different (p ≥ 0.05). Surface characterization of the PS dishes showed a higher value of the critical surface tensions of the treated group when compared to the control group.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1866-1875
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research - Part B Applied Biomaterials
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • cell attachment.
  • gas plasma treatment
  • glow discharge
  • human gingival fibroblasts
  • implants
  • titanium


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