Corrosion of magnesium and magnesium–calcium alloy in biologically-simulated environment

A study of biocompatibility and corrosion of both metallic magnesium (Mg) and a magnesium alloy containing 1% calcium (Mg-Ca) were investigated in in vitro culture conditions with and without the presence of bone marrow derived human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs). Chemical analysis of the degraded samples was performed using XRD and FEGSEM. The results from the XRD analysis strongly suggested that crystalline phase of magnesium carbonate was present on the surface of both the Mg and Mg-Ca samples. Flame absorption spectrometry was used to analyse the release of magnesium and calcium ions into the cell culture medium. Magnesium concentration was kept consistently at a level ranging from 40 to 80. mM for both Mg and Mg-Ca samples. No cell growth was observed when in direct contact with the metals apart from a few cells observed at the bottom of culture plate containing Mg-Ca alloy. In general, in vitro study of corrosion of Mg-Ca in a biologically-simulated environment using cell culture medium with the presence of hMSCs demonstrated close resemblances to in vivo corrosion. Although in vitro corrosion of Mg-Ca revealed slow corrosion rate and no immediate cytotoxicity effects to hMSCs, its corrosion rate was still too high to achieve normal stem cell growth when cells and alloys were cultured in vitro in direct contact.