Glowdischarge plasma (GDP) treatments of biomaterials, such as hydroxyapatite/β-tricalcium phosphate (HA/β-TCP) composites, produce surfaces with fewer contaminants and may facilitate cell attachment and enhance bone regeneration. Thus, in this study we used argon glow discharge plasma (Ar-GDP) treatments to modify HA/β-TCP particle surfaces and investigated the physical and chemical properties of the resulting particles (HA/β-TCP + Ar-GDP). The HA/β-TCP particles were treated with GDP for 15 min in argon gas at room temperature under the following conditions: power: 80 W; frequency: 13.56 MHz; pressure: 100 mTorr. Scanning electron microscope (SEM) observations showed similar rough surfaces of HA/β-TCP + Ar-GDP HA/β-TCP particles, and energy dispersive spectrometry analyses showed that HA/β-TCP surfaces had more contaminants than HA/β-TCP + Ar-GDP surfaces. Ca/P mole ratios in HA/β-TCP and HAβ-TCP + Ar-GDP were 1.34 and 1.58, respectively. Both biomaterials presented maximal intensities of X-ray diffraction patterns at 27° with 600 a.u. At 25° and 40°, HA/β-TCP + Ar-GDP and HA/β-TCP particles had peaks of 200 a.u., which are similar to XRD intensities of human bone. In subsequent comparisons, MG-63 cell viability and differentiation into osteoblast-like cells were assessed on HA/β-TCP and HA/β-TCP + Ar-GDP surfaces, and Ar-GDP treatments led to improved cell growth and alkaline phosphatase activities. The present data indicate that GDP surface treatment modified HA/β-TCP surfaces by eliminating contaminants, and the resulting graft material enhanced bone regeneration.
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