Cells and Materials


Any biomaterial implanted into a living body elicits a distinct local reaction. This reaction depends on the physical, physico-chemical and chemical properties of the material. The obvious term to designate this inherent property of a biomaterial to induce a local reaction is reactogenicity. Reactogenicity of a biomaterial is one of the main factors determining (together with other properties of the implanted device) the bio(non)compatibility of the implant. Such amplification of terminology which establishes differences between biocompatibility as a generalized characteristic of biomaterials in all their interrelations with the host's organism and the influences on local processes around implants, makes the biocompatibility concept more precise from a logical and semantic point of view. The principal phase of the local reaction to an implant is inflammation. Reactogenicity manifests itself mainly in determining peculiarities of this phase, and these peculiarities can be modulated by modifying properties of the material. The practical heuristic advantages of the reactogenicity concept are associated with its quantitative character and with turning attention to the possibility of regulating the local reaction without crossing limits of biocompatibility.