The potential role of phagocytic capacity in the osteolytic process induced by polyethylene wear particles

H. W. Fang, C. B. Yang, C. H. Chang, C. H. Chang, H. L. Liu, S. B. Fang

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17 Citations (Scopus)


Osteolysis induced by ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene wear particles is the major cause of long-term failure of artificial joints. We examined the effects of wear particles on bioactivity by analysing the biophysical aspects of particle phagocytosis. We estimated the maximum number of internalized particles (the phagocytic capacity) for particles of various sizes and shapes. We demonstrated that elongated particles had a smaller phagocytic capacity than spherical particles of the same volume. A review of the literature showed that the ratio of particle concentration (number of particles/number of cells) to phagocytic capacity is critical for particle-induced biological responses. When this ratio was <1, the biological response was approximately proportional to the ratio itself. When this ratio was > 1, limited changes in the biological response were observed. The saturation level of the phagocytic capacity for a particle population appears to reflect the degree of polyethylene particle-induced biological response.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)655-664
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of International Medical Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2006
Externally publishedYes



  • Immune response
  • Macrophages
  • Osteolysis
  • Phagocytic capacity
  • Phagocytosis
  • Polyethylene joint replacement
  • Wear particles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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