Chemists synthesize a silver-containing material for replacing bones

Scientists of the Department of Inorganic Chemistry of the Faculty of Chemistry are working to improve the bactericidal properties of hydroxyapatite, the main component of bone tissue used for the manufacture of implants. The chemists use zinc and silver ions in synthesizing the material, which should reduce the number of postoperative complications of an infectious nature.

- One of the main problems of reconstructive surgery is the inflammatory process after the implantation of a foreign body into the organism, - says Natalia Korotchenko, Associate Professor of the Department of Inorganic Chemistry. - In the worst case, such complications can lead to rejection of the implant. We try to minimize the likelihood of developing unwanted reactions by increasing the bactericidal and bacteriostatic properties of the material.

The presence of bactericidal and bacteriostatic properties in implants is especially important for patients with low immunity, who most often suffer from complications after surgery.

Chemists use zinc and silver ions that have an antimicrobial potential so that implants from hydroxyapatite can restrain the growth of pathogens or completely eliminate them. These ions are added at the stage of artificial bone synthesis. The intermediate results of testing the modified materials indicate that the scientists have approached the desired result.

- We traditionally use standardized bacteria and viruses during the testing, - says Natalia Korotchenko. - For us, studies of this kind were conducted by the employees of the Siberian Research Institute of Agriculture and Peat. A series of experiments, during which the influence of silver-containing hydroxyapatite on the coliform bacteria (one of the most common pathogens) was tested, showed that its amount stably decreases on contact with the material.

As the Associate Professor of the Faculty of Chemistry notes, the task of chemists is to achieve the maximum uniformity of the product. Ideally, metal ions that have an antimicrobial effect should be embedded in the crystal lattice of the substance replacing the mineral component of the bone. But, as experiments show, even being on the surface, these particles perform their work, because they suppress the ability of pathogens to grow and divide.

The application of the materials synthesized by the TSU chemists under the supervision of the head of the department, Vladimir Kozik, is in the production of implants for maxillofacial surgery, dentistry, traumatology, and orthopedics.