AbstractSilicones are widely used as biomaterials for medical devices such as extracorporeal equipments. However, there is often conflicting evidence about their supposed cell- and histocompatibility. Macrophages could mediate silicone-induced adverse responses such as foreign body reaction and fibrous encapsulation. The polarization behaviour of macrophages could determine the clinical outcome after implantation of biomaterials. Induction of classically activated macrophages (CAM) may induce and support uncontrolled inflammatory responses and undesired material degradation. In contrast, polarization into alternatively activated macrophages (AAM) is assumed to support healing processes and implant integration.
This study compared the interaction of non-polarized macrophages (M0), CAM, and AAM with commercially available tissue culture polystyrene (TCP) and a medical grade silicone-based biomaterial, regarding the secretion of inflammatory mediators such as cytokines and chemokines. Firstly, by using the Limulus amoebocyte lysate (LAL) test the silicone films were shown to be free of soluble endotoxins, which is the prerequisite to investigate their interaction with primary immune cells. Primary human monocyte-derived macrophages (M0) were polarized into CAM and AAM by addition of suitable differentiation factors. These macrophage subsets were incubated on the materials for 24 hours and their viability and cytokine secretion was assessed. In comparison to TCP, cell adhesion was lower on silicone after 24 hours for all three macrophage subsets. However, compared to TCP, silicone induced higher levels of certain inflammatory and chemotactic cytokines in M0, CAM, and AAM macrophage subsets.
Conclusively, it was shown that silicone has the ability to induce a pro-inflammatory state to different magnitudes dependent on the macrophage subsets. This priming of the macrophage phenotype by silicone could explain the incidence of severe foreign body complications observed in vivo.