Various materials, such as titanium, zirconia and platinum-gold (Pt-Au) alloy, have been utilized for dental implant trans-mucosal parts. However, biological understanding of soft tissue reaction toward these materials is limited. The aim of this study was to compare the response of cell lines and soft tissue to titanium, zirconia and Pt-Au substrata. The surface hydroxyl groups and protein adsorption capacities of the substrata were measured. Next, gingival epithelial-like cells (Sa3) and fibroblastic cells (NIH3T3) were cultured on the materials, and initial cell attachment was measured. Immuno-fluorescent staining of cell adhesion molecules and cytoskeletal proteins was also performed. In the rat model, experimental implants constructed from various materials were inserted into the maxillary tooth extraction socket and the soft tissue was examined histologically and immunohistochemically. No significant differences among the materials were observed regarding the amount of surface hydroxyl groups and protein adsorption capacity. Significantly fewer cells of Sa3 and NIH3T3 adhered to the Pt-Au alloy compared to the other materials. The expression of cell adhesion molecules and a well-developed cytoskeleton was observed, both Sa3 and NIH3T3 on each material. In an animal model, soft tissue with supracrestal tissue attachment was observed around each material. Laminin-5 immuno-reactivity was seen in epithelia on both titanium and zirconia, but only in the bottom of epithelia on Pt-Au alloy. In conclusion, both titanium and zirconia, but not Pt-Au alloy, displayed excellent cell adhesion properties.
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