Osteoclasts are responsible for bone resorption and implant surface roughness promotes osseointegration. However, little is known about the effect of roughness on osteoclast activity. This study aims at the characterization of osteoclastic response to surface roughness. The number of osteoclasts, the tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) activities, the cell morphology and the actin-ring formation were examined on smooth (TS), acid-etched (TA) and sandblasted acid-etched (TLA) titanium and on native bone. Cell morphology was comparable on TA, TLA and bone, actin rings being similar in size on TLA and bone, but smaller on TA and virtually absent on TS. Gelatin zymography revealed increased proMMP-9 expression on TA, TLA, and bone compared to TS. In general, osteoclasts show similar characteristics on rough titanium surfaces and on bone, but reduced activity on smooth titanium surfaces. These results offer some insight into the involvement of osteoclasts in remodeling processes around implant surfaces.

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