Sophie M. Fröhlich, Vasiliki-Maria Archodoulaki, Günter Allmaier, and Martina Marchetti-Deschmann
Anal Chem. 2014 Oct 7;86(19):9723-32. Epub 2014 Sep 25.
Ultrahigh molecular weight polyethylene (PE-UHMW), a material with high biocompatibility and excellent mechanical properties, is among the most commonly used materials for acetabular cup replacement in artificial joint systems. It is assumed that the interaction with synovial fluid in the biocompartment leads to significant changes relevant to material failure. In addition to hyaluronic acid, lipids are particularly relevant for lubrication in an articulating process. This study investigates synovial lipid adsorption on two different PE-UHMW materials (GUR-1050 and vitamin E-doped) in an in vitro model system by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry imaging (MSI). Lipids were identified by high performance thin layer chromatography (HP-TLC) and tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) analysis, with an analytical focus on phospholipids and cholesterol, both being species of high importance for lubrication. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) analysis was applied in the study to correlate molecular information with PE-UHMW material qualities. It is demonstrated that lipid adsorption preferentially occurs in rough or oxidized polymer regions. Polymer modifications were colocalized with adsorbed lipids and found with high density in regions identified by SEM. Explanted, the in vivo polymer material showed comparable and even more obvious polymer damage and lipid adsorption when compared with the static in vitro model. A three-dimensional reconstruction of MSI data from consecutive PE-UHMW slices reveals detailed information about the diffusion process of lipids in the acetabular cup and provides, for the first time, a promising starting point for future studies correlating molecular information with commonly used techniques for material analysis (e.g., Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy, nanoindentation).