Combinatorial Surface Roughness Effects on Osteoclastogenesis and Osteogenesis

Implant surface properties are a key factor in bone responses to metallic bone implants. In view of the emerging evidence on the important role of osteoclasts in bone regeneration, we here studied how surface roughness affects osteoclastic differentiation and to what extent these osteoclasts have stimulatory effects on osteogenic differentiation of osteoprogenitor cells. For this, we induced osteoclasts derived from RAW264.7 cell line and primary mouse macrophages on titanium surfaces with different roughness (Ra 0.02–3.63 μm) and analyzed osteoclast behavior in terms of cell number, morphology, differentiation, and further anabolic effect on osteoblastic cells. Surfaces with different roughness induced the formation of osteoclasts with distinct phenotypes, based on total osteoclast numbers, morphology, size, cytoskeletal organization, nuclearity, and osteoclastic features. Furthermore, these different osteoclast phenotypes displayed differential anabolic effects toward the osteogenic differentiation of osteoblastic cells, for which the clastokine CTHRC1 was identified as a causative factor. Morphologically, osteoclast potency to stimulate osteogenic differentiation of osteoblastic cells was found to logarithmically correlate with the nuclei number per osteoclast. Our results demonstrate the existence of a combinatorial effect of surface roughness, osteoclastogenesis, and osteogenic differentiation. These insights open up a new dimension for designing and producing metallic implants by considering the implant roughness to locally regulate osseointegration through coupling osteoclastogenesis with osteogenesis.