Development and characterization of a biomimetic coating for percutaneous devices.Colloids Surf B Biointerfaces. 2019 Oct 01; 182:110351.CS
Percutaneous osseointegrated prosthetics (POP), which consist of a metallic post attached to the bone that extends outward through the skin to connect to an external prosthesis, have become a clinically relevant option to replace the typical socket-residual limb connection. POP devices offer several advantages such as mechanical off-loading of soft tissues, direct force transfer to the musculoskeletal system, greater proprioception, and overall improvement in limb kinesis compared to a socket system. However, POP devices create several challenges including epidermal downgrowth, increased infection risk, and mechanical tearing at the skin-implant interface. To address these issues, biomimetic surfaces and coatings have been developed in an attempt to create an infection-free and cohesive interface between POP devices and skin. The fingernail is a prime example of a natural system with a skin interface that is both mechanically and biologically stable. Exploiting keratins' previously demonstrated tissue compatibility and creating a biomimetic coating for POP devices that can imitate the human fingernail, and demonstrating its ability to promote a stable interface with skin tissue is the goal of this work. Silane coupling aided in producing a coating on titanium substrates consisting of human keratin proteins. Several combinations of silane and keratin derivatives were investigated, and in general showed a nano-scale coating thickness that supported skin cell (i.e. fibroblast and keratinocyte) adhesion. Initial enzyme-mediated degradation resistance was also demonstrated, but the coatings appeared to degrade at long time periods. Importantly, keratinocytes showed a stable phenotype with no indication of wound healing-like activity. These data provide justification to further explore keratin biomaterials for POP coatings that may stabilize the implant-skin interface.