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Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Volume 2017, Article ID 8091265, 14 pages
Research Article

Influence of the Microstructure and Silver Content on Degradation, Cytocompatibility, and Antibacterial Properties of Magnesium-Silver Alloys In Vitro

1Institute for Material Research, Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, Max-Planck-Str. 1, 21502 Geesthacht, Germany
2Institute for Bioprocessing and Analytical Measurement Techniques e.V. (iba), Rosenhof, 37308 Heilbad Heiligenstadt, Germany
3Extrusion Research and Development Center, Chair Metallic Materials, TU Berlin, Gustav-Meyer-Allee 25, 13355 Berlin, Germany

Correspondence should be addressed to Frank Feyerabend; ed.gzh@dnebareyef.knarf

Received 16 February 2017; Revised 28 April 2017; Accepted 8 May 2017; Published 22 June 2017

Academic Editor: Martin Kolisek

Copyright © 2017 Zhidan Liu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Implantation is a frequent procedure in orthopedic surgery, particularly in the aging population. However, it possesses the risk of infection and biofilm formation at the surgical site. This can cause unnecessary suffering to patients and burden on the healthcare system. Pure Mg, as a promising metal for biodegradable orthopedic implants, exhibits some antibacterial effects due to the alkaline pH produced during degradation. However, this antibacterial effect may not be sufficient in a dynamic environment, for example, the human body. The aim of this study was to increase the antibacterial properties under harsh and dynamic conditions by alloying silver metal with pure Mg as much as possible. Meanwhile, the Mg-Ag alloys should not show obvious cytotoxicity to human primary osteoblasts. Therefore, we studied the influence of the microstructure and the silver content on the degradation behavior, cytocompatibility, and antibacterial properties of Mg-Ag alloys in vitro. The results indicated that a higher silver content can increase the degradation rate of Mg-Ag alloys. However, the degradation rate could be reduced by eliminating the precipitates in the Mg-Ag alloys via T4 treatment. By controlling the microstructure and increasing the silver content, Mg-Ag alloys obtained good antibacterial properties in harsh and dynamic conditions but had almost equivalent cytocompatibility to human primary osteoblasts as pure Mg.