Titania nanospikes activate macrophage phagocytosis by ligand-independent contact stimulation

Nadia Kartikasari, Masahiro Yamada, Jun Watanabe, Watcharaphol Tiskratok, Xindie He, Hiroshi Egusa

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4 Citations (Scopus)


Macrophage phagocytosis is an important research target to combat various inflammatory or autoimmune diseases; however, the phenomenon has never been controlled by artificial means. Titania nanospikes created by alkaline etching treatment can tune macrophage polarization toward a M1-like type and might regulate macrophage phagocytosis. This in vitro study aimed to determine whether the two-dimensional titania nanosurfaces created by alkaline etching treatment activated the macrophage phagocytosis by nanospike-mediated contact stimulation. On two-dimensional pure titanium sheets, alkaline etching treatments with different protocols created superhydrophilic nanosurfaces with hydroxyl function groups and moderate or dense nanospikes. Both types of titania nanosurfaces promoted the phagocytic activity of the mouse macrophage-like cell line, J774A.1, through upregulation of M1 polarization markers and phagocytosis-related receptors, such as toll-like receptors (TLR2 and 4). In contrast, the hydrophobic smooth or micro-roughened titanium surfaces did not activate macrophage phagocytosis or the expression of related receptors. These phenomena remained unchanged even under the antibody blockade of macrophage TLR2 but were either suppressed or augmented for each surface excited by ultraviolet irradiation. Titania nanospikes induced paxillin expression and provided physical stimuli to macrophages, the extent of which was positively correlated with TLR expression levels. Ligand stimulation with lipopolysaccharide did not upregulate macrophage TLR expression but further enhanced M1 marker expression by titania nanosurfaces. These results showed that the two-dimensional titania nanosurfaces activated macrophage phagocytosis by enhancing expression of phagocytosis-related receptors through nanospike-mediated contact stimulation, in assistance with physical surface properties, in a ligand-independent manner.

Original languageEnglish
Article number12250
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes


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