ABSTRACT Objective of this study was to develope low temperature sol-gel coatings for shape memory metal (NiTi) and evaluate their biocompatibility on NiTi suture material. A series of low temperature TiO2 and TiO2-SiO2 sol-gel coatings were prepared on glass substrates. The silica content of TiO2-SiO2 coatings ranged from 0 to 30 mol%. The coatings were also prepared with polyethyleneglycol (PEG). The contact angle and photocatalytic activity measurements were used to evaluate the surface properties of the coatings. Stability of the coatings was tested in simulated body fluid (SBF). The TiO2-SiO2 90/10 film made with PEG was more hydrophilic, showed photocatalytic activity and was crack-free after the SBF test, thus it was chosen to animal experiment as a new experimental coating. Uncoated NiTi suture and the suture coated with high temperature TiO2 were used as reference materials. NiTi sutures were inserted subcutaneously on the back of rat for four weeks. In routine histological examinations all materials showed good biocompatibility with mild inflammatory cell reaction. No significant differences in the soft tissue response among the materials were observed. Both the high and new low temperature processed sol-gel coatings remained attached on the sutures confirming the suitability of the coating technique on thin NiTi sutures.
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