Total joint replacement surgery has been widely applied to patients with severe osteoarthritis. Aseptic loosening induced by wear particles generated during joint movement is the major reason causing the failure of joint implants. Interaction of ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) wear particles with macrophages stimulates the release of inflammatory cytokines and leads to bone resorption and osteolysis. Effect of UHMWPE particle size and shape on the bioactivities remains unclear due to the lack of particles with controlled morphology as well as adequate in-vitro cell culture models for further investigations. We have developed a micro-cutting procedure to generate UHMWPE particles with desired sizes and shapes by rubbing UHMWPE with microfabricated surfaces. A narrow distribution and sterility of the generated particles was achieved. An inverted cell culturing apparatus and procedures were created and the contact between particles and macrophage cells was observed. No significant difference of the cell proliferations under normal and inverted positions further demonstrates the feasibility of the system. This newly developed platform can assist in the further understanding of the mechanism and therapy strategies of osteolysis induced by polyethylene particles.
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