Novel Mg-(3.5, 6.5wt%)Li-(0.5, 2, 4wt%)Zn ternary alloys were developed as new kinds of biodegradable metallic materials with potential for stent application. Their mechanical properties, degradation behavior, cytocompatibility and hemocompatibility were studied. These potential biomaterials showed higher ultimate tensile strength than previously reported binary Mg-Li alloys and ternary Mg-Li-X (X=Al, Y, Ce, Sc, Mn and Ag) alloys. Among the alloys studied, the Mg-3.5Li-2Zn and Mg-6.5Li-2Zn alloys exhibited comparable corrosion resistance in Hank's solution to pure magnesium and better corrosion resistance in a cell culture medium than pure magnesium. Corrosion products observed on the corroded surface were composed of Mg(OH)2, MgCO3 and Ca-free Mg/P inorganics and Ca/P inorganics. In vitro cytotoxicity assay revealed different behaviors of Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells (HUVECs) and Human Aorta Vascular Smooth Muscle Cells (VSMCs) to material extracts. HUVECs showed increasing nitric oxide (NO) release and tolerable toxicity, whereas VSMCs exhibited limited decreasing viability with time. Platelet adhesion, hemolysis and coagulation tests of these Mg-Li-Zn alloys showed different degrees of activation behavior, in which the hemolysis of the Mg-3.5Li-2Zn alloy was lower than 5%. These results indicated the potential of the Mg-Li-Zn alloys as good candidate materials for cardiovascular stent applications. Statement of significance: Mg-Li alloys are promising as absorbable metallic biomaterials, which however have not received significant attention since the low strength, controversial corrosion performance and the doubts in Li toxicity. The Mg-Li-Zn alloy in the present study revealed much improved mechanical properties higher than most reported binary Mg-Li and ternary Mg-Li-X alloys, with superior corrosion resistance in cell culture media. Surprisingly, the addition of Li and Zn showed increased nitric oxide release. The present study indicates good potential of Mg-Li-Zn alloy as absorbable cardiovascular stent material.
- Biodegradable metals
- Mg-Li-Zn alloy