Passivation treatments of titanium alloy alter not only its nanosurface characteristics of oxides and ion release but also surface roughness (Ra), and wettability as well, where nanosurface characteristics of oxides include chemistries of oxides, amphoteric-OH groups adsorbed on oxides, and oxide thickness. Consequently, the passivation treatment affects the alloy's cyto-comparability. In this study, we polish specimens to achieve nanometric scale roughness. In addition, treatment effects are evaluated for surface topology, roughness, wettability, and responses of fibroblasts consisting of MTT assay, initial adhesion strength, and morphology. The initial adhesion strength is measured using a cytodetacher that achieves nano-Newton resolution. Results reveal that (1) the treatment effects on the percentage of Ti-OH basic groups and wettability are nearly collinear; (2) the Ra of passivated Ti-6Al-4V ranges from 1.9 to 7.4 nm; (3) the initial adhesion strength of fibroblast ranges from 58 to 143 nN, and it is negatively correlated to the Ra; (4) the passivation results in distinguishable morphologies, which further substantiate the negative correlation between cell initial adhesion force and Ra; and (5) our results fall short of confirming previous reports that found positively charged functional groups promoting fibroblast attachment and spread. Potential causes of the inconsistency are addressed.
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