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1.  Metal-on-Metal Total Hip Resurfacing Arthroplasty 
Executive Summary
The objective of this review was to assess the safety and effectiveness of metal on metal (MOM) hip resurfacing arthroplasty for young patients compared with that of total hip replacement (THR) in the same population.
Clinical Need
Total hip replacement has proved to be very effective for late middle-aged and elderly patients with severe degenerative diseases of the hips. As indications for THR began to include younger patients and those with a more active life style, the longevity of the implant became a concern. Evidence suggests that these patients experience relatively higher rates of early implant failure and the need for revision. The Swedish hip registry, for example, has demonstrated a survival rate in excess of 80% at 20 years for those aged over 65 years, whereas this figure was 33% by 16 years in those aged under 55 years.
Hip resurfacing arthroplasty is a bone-conserving alternative to THR that restores normal joint biomechanics and load transfer. The technique has been used around the world for more than 10 years, specifically in the United Kingdom and other European countries.
The Technology
Metal-on-metal hip resurfacing arthroplasty is an alternative procedure to conventional THR in younger patients. Hip resurfacing arthroplasty is less invasive than THR and addresses the problem of preserving femoral bone stock at the initial operation. This means that future hip revisions are possible with THR if the initial MOM arthroplasty becomes less effective with time in these younger patients. The procedure involves the removal and replacement of the surface of the femoral head with a hollow metal hemisphere, which fits into a metal acetabular cup.
Hip resurfacing arthroplasty is a technically more demanding procedure than is conventional THR. In hip resurfacing, the femoral head is retained, which makes it much more difficult to access the acetabular cup. However, hip resurfacing arthroplasty has several advantages over a conventional THR with a small (28 mm) ball. First, the large femoral head reduces the chance of dislocation, so that rates of dislocation are less than those with conventional THR. Second, the range of motion with hip resurfacing arthroplasty is higher than that achieved with conventional THR.
A variety of MOM hip resurfacing implants are used in clinical practice. Six MOM hip resurfacing implants have been issued licences in Canada.
Review Strategy
A search of electronic bibliographies (OVID Medline, Medline In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations, Embase, Cochrane CENTRAL and DSR, INAHTA) was undertaken to identify evidence published from Jan 1, 1997 to October 27, 2005. The search was limited to English-language articles and human studies. The literature search yielded 245 citations. Of these, 11 met inclusion criteria (9 for effectiveness, 2 for safety).
The result of the only reported randomized controlled trial on MOM hip resurfacing arthroplasty could not be included in this assessment, because it used a cemented acetabular component, whereas in the new generation of implants, a cementless acetabular component is used. After omitting this publication, only case series remained.
Summary of Findings
Health Outcomes
The Harris hip score and SF-12 are 2 measures commonly used to report health outcomes in MOM hip resurfacing arthroplasty studies. Other scales used are the Oxford hip score and the University of California Los Angeles hip score.
The case series showed that the mean revision rate of MOM hip resurfacing arthroplasty is 1.5% and the incidence of femoral neck fracture is 0.67%. Across all studies, 2 cases of osteonecrosis were reported. Four studies reported improvement in Harris hip scores. However, only 1 study reported a statistically significant improvement. Three studies reported improvement in SF-12 scores, of which 2 reported a significant improvement. One study reported significant improvement in UCLA hip score. Two studies reported postoperative Oxford hip scores, but no preoperative values were reported.
None of the reviewed studies reported procedure-related deaths. Four studies reported implant survival rates ranging from 94.4% to 99.7% for a follow-up period of 2.8 to 3.5 years. Three studies reported on the range of motion. One reported improvement in all motions including flexion, extension, abduction-adduction, and rotation, and another reported improvement in flexion. Yet another reported improvement in range of motion for flexion abduction-adduction and rotation arc. However, the author reported a decrease in the range of motion in the arc of flexion in patients with Brooker class III or IV heterotopic bone (all patients were men).
Safety of Metal-on-Metal Hip Resurfacing Arthroplasty
There is a concern about metal wear debris and its systemic distribution throughout the body. Detectable metal concentrations in the serum and urine of patients with metal hip implants have been described as early as the 1970s, and this issue is still controversial after 35 years.
Several studies have reported high concentration of cobalt and chromium in serum and/or urine of the patients with metal hip implants. Potential toxicological effects of the elevated metal ions have heightened concerns about safety of MOM bearings. This is of particular concern in young and active patients in whom life expectancy after implantation is long.
Since 1997, 15 studies, including 1 randomized clinical trial, have reported high levels of metal ions after THR with metal implants. Some of these studies have reported higher metal levels in patients with loose implants.
Adverse Biological Effects of Cobalt and Chromium
Because patients who receive a MOM hip arthroplasty are shown to be exposed to high concentrations of metallic ions, the Medical Advisory Secretariat searched the literature for reports of adverse biological effects of cobalt and chromium. Cobalt and chromium make up the major part of the metal articulations; therefore, they are a focus of concern.
Risk of Cancer
To date, only one study has examined the incidence of cancer after MOM and polyethylene on metal total hip arthroplasties. The results were compared to that of general population in Finland. The mean duration of follow-up for MOM arthroplasty was 15.7 years; for polyethylene arthroplasty, it was 12.5 years. The standardized incidence ratio for all cancers in the MOM group was 0.95 (95% CI, 0.79–1.13). In the polyethylene on metal group it was 0.76 (95% CI, 0.68–0.86). The combined standardized incidence ratio for lymphoma and leukemia in the patients who had MOM THR was 1.59 (95% CI, 0.82–2.77). It was 0.59 (95% CI, 0.29–1.05) for the patients who had polyethylene on metal THR. Patients with MOM THR had a significantly higher risk of leukemia. All patients who had leukemia were aged over than 60 years.
Cobalt Cardiotoxicity
Epidemiological Studies of Myocardiopathy of Beer Drinkers
An unusual type of myocardiopathy, characterized by pericardial effusion, elevated hemoglobin concentrations, and congestive heart failure, occurred as an epidemic affecting 48 habitual beer drinkers in Quebec City between 1965 and 1966. This epidemic was directly related the consumption of a popular beer containing cobalt sulfate. The epidemic appeared 1 month after cobalt sulfate was added to the specific brewery, and no further cases were seen a month after this specific chemical was no longer used in making this beer. A beer of the same name is made in Montreal, and the only difference at that time was that the Quebec brand of beer contained about 10 times more cobalt sulphate. Cobalt has been added to some Canadian beers since 1965 to improve the stability of the foam but it has been added in larger breweries only to draught beer. However, in small breweries, such as those in Quebec City, separate batches were not brewed for bottle and draught beer; therefore, cobalt was added to all of the beer processed in this brewery.
In March 1966, a committee was appointed under the chairmanship of the Deputy Minister of Health for Quebec that included members of the department of forensic medicine of Quebec’s Ministry of Justice, epidemiologists, members of Food and Drug Directorate of Ottawa, toxicologists, biomedical researchers, pathologists, and members of provincial police. Epidemiological studies were carried out by the Provincial Ministry of Health and the Quebec City Health Department.
The association between the development of myocardiopathy and the consumption of the particular brand of beer was proven. The mortality rate of this epidemic was 46.1% and those who survived were desperately ill, and recovered only after a struggle for their lives.
Similar cases were seen in Omaha (Nebraska). The epidemic started after a cobalt additive was used in 1 of the beers marketed in Nebraska. Sixty-four patients with the clinical diagnosis of alcoholic myocardiopathy were seen during an 18-month period (1964–1965). Thirty of these patients died. The first patient became ill within 1 month after cobalt was added to the beer, and the last patient was seen within 1 month of withdrawal of cobalt.
A similar epidemic occurred in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Between 1964 and 1967, 42 patients with acute heart failure were admitted to a hospital in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Twenty of these patients were drinking 6 to 30 bottles per day of a particular brand of beer exclusively. The other 14 patients also drank the same brand of beer, but not exclusively. The mortality rate from the acute illness was 18%, but late deaths accounted for a total mortality rate of 43%. Examination of the tissue from these patients revealed markedly abnormal changes in myofibrils (heart muscles), mitochondria, and sarcoplasmic reticulum.
In Belgium, a similar epidemic was reported in 1966, in which, cobalt was used in some Belgian beers. There was a difference in mortality between the Canadian or American epidemic and this series. Only 1 of 24 patients died, 1.5 years after the diagnosis. In March 1965, at an international meeting in Brussels, a new heart disease in chronic beer drinkers was described. This disease consists of massive pericardial effusion, low cardiac output, raised venous pressure, and polycythemia in some cases. This syndrome was thought to be different from the 2 other forms of alcoholic heart disease (beriberi and a form characterized by myocardial fibrosis).
The mystery of the above epidemics as stated by investigators is that the amount of cobalt added to the beer was below the therapeutic doses used for anemia. For example, 24 pints of Quebec brand of beer in Quebec would contain 8 mg of cobalt chloride, whereas an intake of 50 to 100 mg of cobalt as an antianemic agent has been well tolerated. Thus, greater cobalt intake alone does not explain the occurrence of myocardiopathy. It seems that there are individual differences in cobalt toxicity. Other features, like subclinical alcoholic heart disease, deficient diet, and electrolyte imbalance could have been precipitating factors that made these patients susceptible to cobalt’s toxic effects.
In the Omaha epidemic, 60% of the patients had weight loss, anorexia, and occasional vomiting and diarrhea 2 to 6 months before the onset of cardiac symptoms. In the Quebec epidemic, patients lost their appetite 3 to 6 months before the diagnosis of myocardiopathy and developed nausea in the weeks before hospital admission. In the Belgium epidemic, anorexia was one of the most predominant symptoms at the time of diagnosis, and the quality and quantity of food intake was poor. Alcohol has been shown to increase the uptake of intracoronary injected cobalt by 47%. When cobalt enters the cells, calcium exits; this shifts the cobalt to calcium ratio. The increased uptake of cobalt in alcoholic patients may explain the high incidence of cardiomyopathies in beer drinkers’ epidemics.
As all of the above suggest, it may be that prior chronic exposure to alcohol and/or a nutritionally deficient diet may have a marked synergistic effect with the cardiotoxicity of cobalt.
MOM hip resurfacing arthroplasty has been shown to be an effective arthroplasty procedure as tested in younger patients.
However, evidence for effectiveness is based only on 7 case series with short duration of follow-up (2.8–3.5 years). There are no RCTs or other well-controlled studies that compare MOM hip resurfacing with THR.
Revision rates reported in the MOM studies using implants currently licensed in Canada (hybrid systems, uncemented acetabular, and cemented femoral) range from 0.3% to 3.6% for a mean follow-up ranging from 2.8 to 3.5 years.
Fracture of femoral neck is not very common; it occurs in 0.4% to 2.2% of cases (as observed in a short follow-up period).
All the studies that measured health outcomes have reported improvement in Harris Hip and SF-12 scores; 1 study reported significant reduction in pain and improvement in function, and 2 studies reported significant improvement in SF-12 scores. One study reported significant improvement in UCLA Hip scores.
Concerns remain on the potential adverse effects of metal ions. Longer-term follow-up data will help to resolve the inconsistency of findings on adverse effects, including toxicity and carcinogenicity.
Ontario-Based Economic Analysis
The device cost for MOM ranges from $4,300 to $6,000 (Cdn). Traditional hip replacement devices cost about $2,000 (Cdn). Using Ontario Case Costing Initiative data, the total estimated costs for hip resurfacing surgery including physician fees, device fees, follow-up consultation, and postsurgery rehabilitation is about $15,000 (Cdn).
Cost of Total Hip Replacement Surgery in Ontario
MOM hip arthroplasty is generally recommended for patients aged under 55 years because its bone-conserving advantage enables patients to “buy time” and hence helps THRs to last over the lifetime of the patient. In 2004/2005, 15.9% of patients who received THRs were aged 55 years and younger. It is estimated that there are from 600 to 1,000 annual MOM hip arthroplasty surgeries in Canada with an estimated 100 to 150 surgeries in Ontario. Given the increased public awareness of this device, it is forecasted that demand for MOM hip arthroplasty will steadily increase with a conservative estimate of demand rising to 1,400 cases by 2010 (Figure 10). The net budget impact over a 5-year period could be $500,000 to $4.7 million, mainly because of the increasing cost of the device.
Projected Number of Metal-on-Metal Hip Arthroplasty Surgeries in Ontario: to 2010
PMCID: PMC3379532  PMID: 23074495
2.  Clinical Features, Testing, and Management of Patients with Suspected Prosthetic Hip-Associated Cobalt Toxicity: a Systematic Review of Cases 
Journal of Medical Toxicology  2013;9(4):405-415.
Safety concerns regarding cobalt-containing metal alloy hip prosthetics (Co-HP) have resulted in product recalls, a medical device alert, and issuance of guidance for clinicians. Recently, cases of suspected prosthetic hip-associated cobalt toxicity (PHACT) from Co-HP have been reported. Although little is known about suspected PHACT, these patients may be referred to medical toxicologists for evaluation and management recommendations. We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, and unpublished abstracts from toxicology scientific meetings for references relevant to PHACT. Authors independently screened publications for inclusion criteria: publication in English, human study population, subject(s) are symptomatic (except for isolated hip pain), and cobalt values in any matrix (blood, serum, urine, CSF, synovial fluid) available for review. Data from 10 cases are reviewed. Patients with suspected PHACT had findings consistent with cobalt toxicity, including thyroid, cardiac, and neurologic dysfunction. Signs and symptoms appeared between 3 and 72 months after arthroplasty (median 19 months). Neurologic symptoms were most common. Ancillary testing varied considerably. All patients had elevated cobalt levels in one or more matrices. Enhanced elimination was attempted in 27 % of patients. At this time, the information currently available regarding patients with suspected PHACT is inadequate to guide clinical decision making. No consensus has been reached regarding the management of Co-HP patients with systemic symptoms. Indications for chelation have not been established and require further study. Improved case definitions, improved surveillance, and controlled studies are needed to elucidate the scope of this problem and guide future investigations.
PMCID: PMC3846976  PMID: 24222555
Cobalt; Poisoning; Hip prosthesis; Arthroplasty; Cobalt toxicity
3.  Persistence of tungsten oxide particle/fiber mixtures in artificial human lung fluids 
During the manufacture of tungsten metal for non-sag wire, tungsten oxide powders are produced as intermediates and can be in the form of tungsten trioxide (WO3) or tungsten blue oxides (TBOs). TBOs contain fiber-shaped tungsten sub-oxide particles of respirable or thoracic size. The aim of this research was to investigate whether fiber-containing TBOs had prolonged biodurability in artificial lung fluids compared to tungsten metal or WO3 and therefore potentially could pose a greater inhalation hazard.
Dissolution of tungsten metal, WO3, one fiber-free TBO (WO2.98), and three fiber-containing TBO (WO2.81, WO2.66, and WO2.51) powders were measured for the material as-received, dispersed, and mixed with metallic cobalt. Solubility was evaluated using artificial airway epithelial lining fluid (SUF) and macrophage phagolysosomal simulant fluid (PSF).
Dissolution rates of tungsten compounds were one to four orders of magnitude slower in PSF compared to SUF. The state of the fiber-containing TBOs did not influence their dissolution in either SUF or PSF. In SUF, fiber-containing WO2.66 and WO2.51 dissolved more slowly than tungsten metal or WO3. In PSF, all three fiber-containing TBOs dissolved more slowly than tungsten metal.
Fiber-containing TBO powders dissolved more slowly than tungsten metal and WO3 powders in SUF and more slowly than tungsten metal in PSF. Existing pulmonary toxicological information on tungsten compounds indicates potential for pulmonary irritation and possibly fibrosis. Additional research is needed to fully understand the hazard potential of TBOs.
PMCID: PMC3012654  PMID: 21126345
4.  Competitive nature of the intestinal transport mechanism for cobalt and iron in the rat 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  1971;50(11):2384-2394.
Dose- and time-response studies were performed in iron-loaded and iron-deficient rats in order to define, (a) the kinetics of absorption of cobalt and iron, (b) the nature of the inhibitory effect of one metal on the absorption of the other, and (c) the effect of variations in body iron stores on these processes. The duodenum was perfused for 5-90 min with labeled solutions containing 5.0 mM iron or 5.0 mM cobalt. In iron-loaded rats, the rate of cobalt absorption was constant for 90 min whereas the rate of iron absorption fell after 30 min. In comparison to these results, the rate of absorption of both metals was increased in iron deficiency, and was more rapid in the first 30 min than in the 30-90 min period.
To determine the response to varying doses of metal, we perfused duodenal loops for 30 min with 0.1-10.0 mM solutions of either iron or cobalt. In both iron-loaded and iron-deficient groups, a greater proportion of the metals was absorbed from smaller than from larger doses. When iron and cobalt were perfused together in iron-deficient animals, cobalt competitively inhibited iron absorption, and conversely, iron reduced cobalt absorption. The apparent maximum transport velocity was similar for both metals, but the affinity for cobalt was greater than iron.
The results suggest that the absorption of cobalt and iron is mediated by a transport system in which two processes operate simultaneously; the first is limited largely by the concentration of available metal in the lumen of the intestine, whereas the second process depends upon the activity of a mechanism which displays saturation kinetics and competitive inhibition. The former process prevails when iron stores are replete, whereas the latter predominates when there is a need for iron, such as in iron deficiency.
PMCID: PMC292181  PMID: 5096521
5.  Large head metal-on-metal cementless total hip arthroplasty versus 28mm metal-on-polyethylene cementless total hip arthroplasty: design of a randomized controlled trial 
Osteoarthritis of the hip is successfully treated by total hip arthroplasty with metal-on-polyethylene articulation. Polyethylene wear debris can however lead to osteolysis, aseptic loosening and failure of the implant. Large head metal-on-metal total hip arthroplasty may overcome polyethylene wear induced prosthetic failure, but can increase systemic cobalt and chromium ion concentrations. The objective of this study is to compare two cementless total hip arthroplasties: a conventional 28 mm metal-on-polyethylene articulation and a large head metal-on-metal articulation. We hypothesize that the latter arthroplasties show less bone density loss and higher serum metal ion concentrations. We expect equal functional scores, greater range of motion, fewer dislocations, fewer periprosthetic radiolucencies and increased prosthetic survival with the metal-on-metal articulation.
A randomized controlled trial will be conducted. Patients to be included suffer from non-inflammatory degenerative joint disease of the hip, are aged between 18 and 80 and are admitted for primary cementless unilateral total hip arthroplasty. Patients in the metal-on-metal group will receive a cementless titanium alloy acetabular component with a cobalt-chromium liner and a cobalt-chromium femoral head varying from 38 to 60 mm. Patients in the metal-on-polyethylene group will receive a cementless titanium alloy acetabular component with a polyethylene liner and a 28 mm cobalt-chromium femoral head. We will assess acetabular bone mineral density by dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA), serum ion concentrations of cobalt, chromium and titanium, self reported functional status (Oxford hip score), physician reported functional status and range of motion (Harris hip score), number of dislocations and prosthetic survival. Measurements will take place preoperatively, perioperatively, and postoperatively (6 weeks, 1 year, 5 years and 10 years).
Superior results of large head metal-on-metal total hip arthroplasty over conventional hip arthroplasty have been put forward by experts, case series and the industry, but to our knowledge there is no randomized controlled evidence.
This randomized controlled study has been designed to test whether large head metal-on-metal cementless total hip arthroplasty leads to less periprosthetic bone density loss and higher serum metal ion concentrations compared to 28 mm metal-on-polyethylene cementless total hip arthroplasty.
Trial registration
Netherlands Trial Registry NTR1399
PMCID: PMC2576464  PMID: 18842151
6.  Update on the genotoxicity and carcinogenicity of cobalt compounds 
OBJECTIVE—To integrate recent understandings of the mechanisms of genotoxicity and carcinogenicity of the different cobalt compounds.
METHOD—A narrative review of the studies published since the last IARC assessment in 1991 (genotoxicity, experimental carcinogenesis, and epidemiology).
RESULTS—Two different mechanisms of genotoxicity, DNA breakage induced by cobalt metal and especially hard metal particles, and inhibition of DNA repair by cobalt (II) ions contribute to the carcinogenic potential of cobalt compounds. There is evidence that soluble cobalt (II) cations exert a genotoxic and carcinogenic activity in vitro and in vivo in experimental systems but evidence in humans is lacking. Experimental data indicate some evidence of a genotoxic potential for cobalt metal in vitro in human lymphocytes but there is no evidence available of a carcinogenic potential. There is evidence that hard metal particles exert a genotoxic and carcinogenic activity in vitro and in human studies, respectively. There is insufficient information for cobalt oxides and other compounds.
CONCLUSION—Although many areas of uncertainty remain, an assessment of the carcinogenicity of cobalt and its compounds requires a clear distinction between the different compounds of the element and needs to take into account the different mechanisms involved.

Keywords: cobalt; DNA breakage; inhibition of DNA repair
PMCID: PMC1740056  PMID: 11555681
7.  NRF2 Oxidative Stress Induced by Heavy Metals is Cell Type Dependent 
Exposure to metallic environmental toxicants has been demonstrated to induce a variety of oxidative stress responses in mammalian cells. The transcription factor Nrf2 is activated in response to oxidative stress and coordinates the expression of antioxidant gene products. In this study, we describe the development of an Nrf2-specific reporter gene assay that can be used to study the oxidative stress response in multiple cell types. Using five different cell lines, the Nrf2-activating potency of twenty metals was assessed across a range of concentrations. While ten of the metals tested (cadmium, cobalt, copper, gold, iron, lead, mercury, silver, sodium arsenite and zinc) stimulated Nrf2-dependent transcriptional activity in at least three of the engineered cell lines, only three (cadmium, copper and sodium arsenite) were active in all five cell lines. A comparison of metal-induced Nrf2 transcriptional activation revealed significant differences in the absolute magnitude of activation as well as the relative potencies between the cell lines tested. However, there was no direct correlation between activity and potency. Taken together, these results show that the capacity to stimulate Nrf2 activity and relative potencies of these test compounds are highly dependent on the cell type tested. Since oxidative stress is thought to be involved in the mode of action of many toxicological studies, this observation may inform the design of paradigms for toxicity testing for toxicant prioritization and characterization.
PMCID: PMC3106370  PMID: 21643505
Nrf2; metals; oxidative stress; reporter gene; cell lines; toxicity testing.
8.  Effects of cobalt precursor on pyrolyzed carbon-supported cobalt-polypyrrole as electrocatalyst toward oxygen reduction reaction 
Nanoscale Research Letters  2013;8(1):478.
A series of non-precious metal electrocatalysts, namely pyrolyzed carbon-supported cobalt-polypyrrole, Co-PPy-TsOH/C, are synthesized with various cobalt precursors, including cobalt acetate, cobalt nitrate, cobalt oxalate, and cobalt chloride. The catalytic performance towards oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) is comparatively investigated with electrochemical techniques of cyclic voltammogram, rotating disk electrode and rotating ring-disk electrode. The results are analyzed and discussed employing physiochemical techniques of X-ray diffraction, transmission electron microscopy, Raman spectroscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, inductively coupled plasma, elemental analysis, and extended X-ray absorption fine structure. It shows that the cobalt precursor plays an essential role on the synthesis process as well as microstructure and performance of the Co-PPy-TsOH/C catalysts towards ORR. Among the studied Co-PPy-TsOH/C catalysts, that prepared with cobalt acetate exhibits the best ORR performance. The crystallite/particle size of cobalt and its distribution as well as the graphitization degree of carbon in the catalyst greatly affects the catalytic performance of Co-PPy-TsOH/C towards ORR. Metallic cobalt is the main component in the active site in Co-PPy-TsOH/C for catalyzing ORR, but some other elements such as nitrogen are probably involved, too.
PMCID: PMC3842826  PMID: 24229351
Non-precious metal electrocatalyst; Oxygen reduction reaction; Cobalt precursor; Catalytic active site
9.  Epidemiological study of hard metal asthma. 
OBJECTIVES: To elucidate factors contributing to hard metal asthma, the entire workforce of a corporation producing hard metal tools (n = 703) was examined. METHODS: The variables evaluated were the atopy reflected by immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibody against mite allergen, history of exposure to hard metal, smoking, concentration of airborne cobalt, specific IgE antibody reaction against cobalt, and the respiratory symptom of attacks of reversible dyspnoea with wheeze (asthmatic symptoms). RESULTS: Univariate analysis showed that the prevalence of the asthmatic symptoms was significantly higher in formerly and currently exposed male workers than in non-exposed male workers. Positive IgE reaction against cobalt was found in seven men (2.0%), all of whom had asthmatic symptoms. Furthermore, it was found that atopy, positive IgE antibody against cobalt, and age of 40 or older were significantly correlated with asthmatic symptoms. Multilogistic analysis on the same factors and smoking in all of the workers showed that the age, experience of hard metal exposure, and atopy were significant risk factors associated with the asthmatic symptoms. Multilogistic analysis of data for currently exposed and non-exposed workers also showed that age and atopy were risk factors, and that the exposure to cobalt at the low concentration (at or below 50 micrograms/m3) but not at the higher concentration was a significant risk factor. Exposure to mist of coolants containing ionic cobalt, used during grinding, was not found to be any more hazardous in terms of onset of asthmatic symptoms than exposure to hard metal dust containing metallic cobalt. CONCLUSIONS: Accordingly, it is concluded that both environmental factors and individual susceptibility should be taken into consideration in efforts to reduce the prevalence of hard metal asthma.
PMCID: PMC1128442  PMID: 8704860
10.  Biological monitoring of workers exposed to cobalt metal, salt, oxides, and hard metal dust. 
OBJECTIVE--The aim was to examine the relation between environmental and biological (blood and urine) indices of exposure to different chemical forms of cobalt. METHODS--A cross sectional study was undertaken in workers exposed to cobalt metal, oxides, and salts in a refinery and to a mixture of cobalt and tungsten carbide in a hard metal producing plant. RESULTS AND CONCLUSION--Although biological monitoring of workers exposed to cobalt oxides showed higher blood and urine concentrations than in non-exposed subjects, these indices poorly reflected the recent exposure level. By contrast, when exposure was to soluble cobalt compounds (metal, salts, and hard metals), the measurement of urine or blood cobalt at the end of the workweek could be recommended for the assessment of recent exposure. An eight hour exposure to 20 or 50 micrograms/m3 of a soluble form of cobalt would lead to an average concentration in a postshift urine sample collected at the end of the workweek of 18.2 or 32.4 micrograms of cobalt/g creatinine, respectively.
PMCID: PMC1128012  PMID: 8044242
11.  Interaction of Carcinogenic Metals with Tissue and Body Fluids 
British Journal of Cancer  1972;26(4):279-291.
In addition to cobalt, metallic nickel, cadmium and other metals (e.g. zinc and copper) dissolve when incubated with horse serum at 37°. The dissolving property of copper in serum resembles that of cobalt, its solubility being increased greatly in the presence of oxygen, whereas the solubilities of cadmium, zinc and most preparations of nickel are the same aerobically and anaerobically. In all of these “metal-sera” the cations are bound, although in different proportions, both by proteins and by small diffusible molecules.
Although Co2+ ions and cobalt-serum cause limited catalytic oxidation of fresh serum, most of the oxygen uptake by suspensions of metallic cobalt in serum, or by more simple model systems, is due to absorption of oxygen by the metal powder; the consequences of this are discussed.
Metallic cobalt, cadmium and nickel dissolve readily when incubated with sterile homogenates of rat muscle (and other tissues), the dissolved cations being bound predominantly by small, diffusible molecules, rather than by the protein components. Binding by small molecules, in preference to proteins, also occurs when the metals dissolve in vivo. In both the in vivo and in vitro systems, the metallic ions are not bound by a specific cation carrier, but are distributed amongst a number of components. These components have greater affinities for the dissolved metals than serum proteins and seem likely to be the normal cation carriers in vivo. As in serum, solubility in muscle homogenates is not a specific property of the carcinogenic metals as other, non-carcinogenic metals also dissolve. The specificity of the former metals, therefore, is attributed to the subsequent effects of the dissolved cations after intracellular incorporation.
PMCID: PMC2008656  PMID: 5071190
12.  “NiCo Buster”: engineering E. coli for fast and efficient capture of cobalt and nickel 
Metal contamination is widespread and results from natural geogenic and constantly increasing anthropogenic sources (mainly mining and extraction activities, electroplating, battery and steel manufacturing or metal finishing). Consequently, there is a growing need for methods to detoxify polluted ecosystems. Industrial wastewater, surface water and ground water need to be decontaminated to alleviate the contamination of soils and sediments and, ultimately, the human food chain. In nuclear power plants, radioactive metals are produced; these metals need to be removed from effluents before they are released into the environment, not only for pollution prevention but also for waste minimization. Many physicochemical methods have been developed for metal removal from aqueous solutions, including chemical coagulation, adsorption, extraction, ion exchange and membrane separation; however, these methods are generally not metal selective. Bacteria, because they contain metal transporters, provide a potentially competitive alternative to the current use of expensive and high-volume ion-exchange resins.
The feasibility of using bacterial biofilters as efficient tools for nickel and cobalt ions specific remediation was investigated. Among the factors susceptible to genetic modification in Escherichia coli, specific efflux and sequestration systems were engineered to improve its metal sequestration abilities. Genomic suppression of the RcnA nickel (Ni) and cobalt (Co) efflux system was combined with the plasmid-controlled expression of a genetically improved version of a specific metallic transporter, NiCoT, which originates from Novosphingobium aromaticivorans. The resulting strain exhibited enhanced nickel (II) and cobalt (II) uptake, with a maximum metal ion accumulation of 6 mg/g bacterial dry weight during 10 min of treatment. A synthetic adherence operon was successfully introduced into the plasmid carrying the improved NiCoT transporter, conferring the ability to form thick biofilm structures, especially when exposed to nickel and cobalt metallic compounds.
This study demonstrates the efficient use of genetic engineering to increase metal sequestration and biofilm formation by E. coli. This method allows Co and Ni contaminants to be sequestered while spatially confining the bacteria to an abiotic support. Biofiltration of nickel (II) and cobalt (II) by immobilized cells is therefore a promising option for treating these contaminants at an industrial scale.
PMCID: PMC4124493  PMID: 25104972
Bioremediation; Cobalt; Nickel; Biofilm; Biofilter; NiCoT; Synthetic biology
13.  Cobalt-Alloy Implant Debris Induce HIF-1α Hypoxia Associated Responses: A Mechanism for Metal-Specific Orthopedic Implant Failure 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e67127.
The historical success of orthopedic implants has been recently tempered by unexpected pathologies and early failures of some types of Cobalt-Chromium-Molybdenum alloy containing artificial hip implants. Hypoxia-associated responses to Cobalt-alloy metal debris were suspected as mediating this untoward reactivity at least in part. Hypoxia Inducible Factor-1α is a major transcription factor involved in hypoxia, and is a potent coping mechanism for cells to rapidly respond to changing metabolic demands. We measured signature hypoxia associated responses (i.e. HIF-1α, VEGF and TNF-α) to Cobalt-alloy implant debris both in vitro (using a human THP-1 macrophage cell line and primary human monocytes/macrophages) and in vivo. HIF-1α in peri-implant tissues of failed metal-on-metal implants were compared to similar tissues from people with metal-on-polymer hip arthroplasties, immunohistochemically. Increasing concentrations of cobalt ions significantly up-regulated HIF-1α with a maximal response at 0.3 mM. Cobalt-alloy particles (1 um-diameter, 10 particles/cell) induced significantly elevated HIF-1α, VEGF, TNF-α and ROS expression in human primary macrophages whereas Titanium-alloy particles did not. Elevated expression of HIF-1α was found in peri-implant tissues and synovial fluid of people with failing Metal-on-Metal hips (n = 5) compared to failed Metal-on-Polymer articulating hip arthroplasties (n = 10). This evidence suggests that Cobalt-alloy, more than other metal implant debris (e.g. Titanium alloy), can elicit hypoxia-like responses that if unchecked can lead to unusual peri-implant pathologies, such as lymphocyte infiltration, necrosis and excessive fibrous tissue growths.
PMCID: PMC3688623  PMID: 23840602
14.  Osseointegration and biocompatibility of different metal implants - a comparative experimental investigation in sheep 
In the present study, 4 different metallic implant materials, either partly coated or polished, were tested for their osseointegration and biocompatibility in a pelvic implantation model in sheep.
Materials to be evaluated were: Cobalt-Chrome (CC), Cobalt-Chrome/Titanium coating (CCTC), Cobalt-Chrome/Zirconium/Titanium coating (CCZTC), Pure Titanium Standard (PTST), Steel, TAN Standard (TANST) and TAN new finish (TANNEW). Surgery was performed on 7 sheep, with 18 implants per sheep, for a total of 63 implants. After 8 weeks, the specimens were harvested and evaluated macroscopically, radiologically, biomechanically (removal torque), histomorphometrically and histologically.
Cobalt-Chrome screws showed significantly (p = 0.031) lower removal torque values than pure titanium screws and also a tendency towards lower values compared to the other materials, except for steel. Steel screws showed no significant differences, in comparison to cobalt-chrome and TANST, however also a trend towards lower torque values than the remaining materials. The results of the fluorescence sections agreed with those of the biomechanical test. Histomorphometrically, there were no significant differences of bone area between the groups. The BIC (bone-to-implant-contact), used for the assessment of the osseointegration, was significantly lower for cobalt-chrome, compared to steel (p = 0.001). Steel again showed a lower ratio (p = 0.0001) compared to the other materials.
This study demonstrated that cobalt-chrome and steel show less osseointegration than the other metals and metal-alloys. However, osseointegration of cobalt-chrome was improved by zirconium and/or titanium based coatings (CCTC, TANST, TAN, TANNEW) being similar as pure titanium in their osseointegrative behavior.
PMCID: PMC3315746  PMID: 22400715
15.  Mobile Phones: Potential Sources of Nickel and Cobalt Exposure for Metal Allergic Patients 
The use of cellular phones has risen exponentially with over 300 million subscribers. Nickel has been detected in cell phones and reports of contact dermatitis attributable to metals are present in the literature. We determined nickel and cobalt content in popular cell phones in the United States. Adults (>18 years) who owned a flip phone, Blackberry®, or iPhone® were eligible. Seventy-two cell phones were tested using SmartPractice's® commercially available nickel and cobalt spot tests. Test areas included buttons, keypad, speakers, camera, and metal panels. Of the 72 cell phones tested, no iPhones or Droids® tested positive for nickel or cobalt. About 29.4% of Blackberrys [95% confidence interval (CI), 13%–53%] tested positive for nickel; none were positive for cobalt. About 90.5% of flip phones (95% CI, 70%–99%) tested positive for nickel and 52.4% of flip phones (95% CI, 32%–72%) tested positive for cobalt. Our study indicates that nickel and cobalt are present in popular cell phones. Patients with known nickel or cobalt allergy may consider their cellular phones as a potential source of exposure. Further studies are needed to examine whether there is a direct association with metal content in cell phones and the manifestation of metal allergy.
PMCID: PMC3869443  PMID: 24380018
16.  An ABC-Type Cobalt Transport System Is Essential for Growth of Sinorhizobium melilotiat Trace Metal Concentrations ▿ †  
Journal of Bacteriology  2011;193(17):4405-4416.
We report expression and mutant phenotypes for a gene cluster in Sinorhizobium meliloti, designated cbtJKL, that has been shown to encode an ABC-type cobalt transport system. Transcription of cbtJKLinitiated 384 nucleotides upstream from the cbtJtranslation start codon, and the resulting 5′ region contained a putative B12riboswitch. Expression of the cbtJKLgenes appeared to be controlled by (cobalt-loaded) cobalamin interacting at the B12riboswitch, since (i) a putative B12riboswitch was located within this large upstream region, (ii) cbtJtranscription was repressed upon addition of cobalt or vitamin B12, and (iii) deletions in the B12riboswitch resulted in constitutive cbtJKLtranscription. Insertion mutants in cbtJKLfailed to grow in LB medium, and growth was restored through the addition of cobalt but not other metals. This growth phenotype appeared to be due to the chelation of cobalt present in LB, and cbtJKLmutants also failed to grow in minimal medium containing the chelating agent EDTA unless the medium was supplemented with additional or excess cobalt. In uptake experiments, 57Co2+accumulation was high in wild-type cells expressing the cbtJKLgenes, whereas wild-type cells in which cbtJKLexpression was repressed showed reduced accumulation. In cbtJKLmutant cells, 57Co2+accumulation was reduced relative to that of the wild type, and presumably, this residual cobalt transport occurred via an alternate ion uptake system(s) that is not specific to cobalt. In symbiosis, the alternate system(s) appeared to mediate cobalt transport into bacteroid cells, as low cbtJKLexpression was detected in bacteroids and cbtJKLmutants formed N2-fixing nodules on alfalfa.
PMCID: PMC3165532  PMID: 21725018
17.  Low-solubility particles and a Trojan-horse type mechanism of toxicity: the case of cobalt oxide on human lung cells 
The mechanisms of toxicity of metal oxide particles towards lung cells are far from being understood. In particular, the relative contribution of intracellular particulate versus solubilized fractions is rarely considered as it is very challenging to assess, especially for low-solubility particles such as cobalt oxide (Co3O4).
This study was possible owing to two highly sensitive, independent, analytical techniques, based on single-cell analysis, using ion beam microanalysis, and on bulk analysis of cell lysates, using mass spectrometry.
Our study shows that cobalt oxide particles, of very low solubility in the culture medium, are readily incorporated by BEAS-2B human lung cells through endocytosis via the clathrin-dependent pathway. They are partially solubilized at low pH within lysosomes, leading to cobalt ions release. Solubilized cobalt was detected within the cytoplasm and the nucleus. As expected from these low-solubility particles, the intracellular solubilized cobalt content is small compared with the intracellular particulate cobalt content, in the parts-per-thousand range or below. However, we were able to demonstrate that this minute fraction of intracellular solubilized cobalt is responsible for the overall toxicity.
Cobalt oxide particles are readily internalized by pulmonary cells via the endo-lysosomal pathway and can lead, through a Trojan-horse mechanism, to intracellular release of toxic metal ions over long periods of time, involving specific toxicity.
PMCID: PMC3994290  PMID: 24669904
Toxicity; Lung cells; Cobalt oxide; Particles; Endocytosis; Lysosome; Intracellular solubilization; PIXE; ICP-MS
18.  Mycobacterial Cells Have Dual Nickel-Cobalt Sensors 
The Journal of biological chemistry  2007;282(44):32298-32310.
A novel ArsR-SmtB family transcriptional repressor, KmtR, has been characterized from mycobacteria. Mutants of Mycobacterium tuberculosis lacking kmtR show elevated expression of Rv2025c encoding a deduced CDF-family metal exporter. KmtR-dependent repression of the cdf and kmtR operator-promoters was alleviated by nickel and cobalt in minimal medium. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays and fluorescence anisotropy show binding of purified KmtR to nucleotide sequences containing a region of dyad symmetry from the cdf and kmtR operator-promoters. Incubation of KmtR with cobalt inhibits DNA complex assembly and metal-protein binding was confirmed. KmtR is the second, to NmtR, characterized ArsR-SmtB sensor of nickel and cobalt from M. tuberculosis suggesting special significance for these ions in this pathogen. KmtR-dependent expression is elevated in complete medium with no increase in response to metals, whereas NmtR retains a response to nickel and cobalt under these conditions. KmtR has tighter affinities for nickel and cobalt than NmtR consistent with basal levels of these metals being sensed by KmtR but not NmtR in complete medium. More than a thousand genes encoding ArsR-SmtB-related proteins are listed in databases. KmtR has none of the previously defined metal-sensing sites. Substitution of His88, Glu101, His102, His110, or His111 with Gln generated KmtR variants that repress the cdf and kmtR operator-promoters even in elevated nickel and cobalt, revealing a new sensory site. Importantly, ArsR-SmtB sequence groupings do not correspond with the different sensory motifs revealing that only the latter should be used to predict metal sensing.
PMCID: PMC3145109  PMID: 17726022
19.  Age-related impairments of mobility associated with cobalt and other heavy metals: Data from NHANES 1999-2004 
Exposure to heavy metals can promote oxidative stress and damage to cellular components, and may accelerate age-related disease and disability.. Physical mobility is a validated biomarker of age-related disability and is predictive of hospitalization and mortality.
To examine associations between selected heavy metals and impaired lower limb mobility in a representative older human population.
Data for 1615 adults aged ≥60 years from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 1999 to 2004 were used to identify associations between urinary concentrations of 10 metals with self-reported and measured walking impairments (at p<0.01). Models were adjusted for confounding factors, including smoking.
In models adjusted for age, sex and ethnicity, elevated levels of cadmium, cobalt and uranium were associated with impairment of the ability to walk a quarter mile. In fully adjusted models, cobalt was the only metal that remained associated: the odds ratio for reporting walking problems with a 1-unit increase in logged cobalt concentration (μg L-1) was 1.43 (95% CI 1.12 to 1.84). Cobalt was also the only metal associated with an increased measured time to walk a 20 foot course (p=0.008). In analyses of disease categories to explain the mobility finding, cobalt was associated with physician diagnosed arthritis (1-unit increase OR=1.22 (95% CI 1.00 to 1.49, p=0.045).
Low level cobalt exposure, assessed through urinary concentrations of this essential heavy metal may be a risk factor for age-related physical impairments. Independent replication is needed to confirm this association.
PMCID: PMC3404487  PMID: 19199147
Cobalt; aging; NHANES; arthritis; gait speed
20.  Fast Growth Increases the Selective Advantage of a Mutation Arising Recurrently during Evolution under Metal Limitation 
PLoS Genetics  2009;5(9):e1000652.
Understanding the evolution of biological systems requires untangling the molecular mechanisms that connect genetic and environmental variations to their physiological consequences. Metal limitation across many environments, ranging from pathogens in the human body to phytoplankton in the oceans, imposes strong selection for improved metal acquisition systems. In this study, we uncovered the genetic and physiological basis of adaptation to metal limitation using experimental populations of Methylobacterium extorquens AM1 evolved in metal-deficient growth media. We identified a transposition mutation arising recurrently in 30 of 32 independent populations that utilized methanol as a carbon source, but not in any of the 8 that utilized only succinate. These parallel insertion events increased expression of a novel transporter system that enhanced cobalt uptake. Such ability ensured the production of vitamin B12, a cobalt-containing cofactor, to sustain two vitamin B12–dependent enzymatic reactions essential to methanol, but not succinate, metabolism. Interestingly, this mutation provided higher selective advantages under genetic backgrounds or incubation temperatures that permit faster growth, indicating growth-rate–dependent epistatic and genotype-by-environment interactions. Our results link beneficial mutations emerging in a metal-limiting environment to their physiological basis in carbon metabolism, suggest that certain molecular features may promote the emergence of parallel mutations, and indicate that the selective advantages of some mutations depend generically upon changes in growth rate that can stem from either genetic or environmental influences.
Author Summary
Effects of mutations can change under different genetic backgrounds or environmental factors, also known as epistasis and genotype-by-environment interactions (G×E), respectively. Though epistasis and G×E are traditionally treated as distinct phenomena, our study of a beneficial mutation highlights their commonality. This mutation resulted from insertion of the same transposable element upstream of a novel cobalt transport system in 30 of 32 independent populations during evolution in metal-limited media. The resulting increased cobalt uptake provided a selective benefit that depended upon two environmental factors: cobalt limitation and growth substrates whose metabolism requires a particular vitamin B12 (which contains cobalt) -dependent biochemical pathway. Furthermore, this mutation exhibited epistatic and G×E interactions with other cellular processes in a generic way, such that its selective advantage increased as cells were able to grow faster. This growth-rate dependence accords with a simple model: the slowest of multiple physiological processes needed for growth exerts the greatest control over an organism's growth rate. It suggests that as growth results from the performance of the entire physiological system, genes or environmental factors that affect distinct physiological processes may thus interact through their convergent effects on growth phenotypes.
PMCID: PMC2732905  PMID: 19763169
21.  Elevation of circulating HLA DR+ CD8+ T-cells and correlation with chromium and cobalt concentrations 6 years after metal-on-metal hip arthroplasty 
Acta Orthopaedica  2011;82(1):6-12.
Background and purpose
Following metal-on-metal hip arthroplasty (THA), immunological reactions including changes in lymphocyte populations, aseptic loosening, and lymphocytic pseudotumors occur. We hypothesized that changes in lymphocyte subpopulations would be associated with elevated metal ion concentrations.
A randomized trial involving 85 patients matched for age and sex and randomized to receiving metal-on-metal (n = 41) or metal-on-polyethylene total hip arthroplasty (n = 44) was conducted. 36 patients were eligible for follow-up after mean 7 (6–8) years. Concentrations of chromium and cobalt were analyzed by high-resolution inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Leukocyte subpopulations and immunoglobulins in patient blood were measured using standard laboratory methods.
Patients with a metal-on-metal hip had higher serum concentrations of chromium (1.05 vs. 0.36 μg/L; p < 0.001) and cobalt (0.86 vs. 0.24 μg/L; p < 0.001) than those with metal-on-polyethylene. The percentage of HLA DR+ CD8+ T-cells was higher in the metal-on-metal group (10.6 vs. 6.7%; p = 0.03) and correlated positively with chromium and cobalt concentrations in patient blood (Pearson's correlation coefficient: 0.39, p = 0.02; 0.36, p = 0.03, respectively). The percentage of B-cells was lower in the metal-on-metal group (p = 0.01). The two groups were similar with respect to immunoglobulin concentrations and Harris hip scores, and there were no radiographic signs of loosening.
We conclude that immunological alterations appear to be associated with increased cobalt and chromium concentrations. It is tempting to speculate that HLA DR+ CD8+ T-cells are involved in the pathogenesis of allergic reactions, implant loosening, and lymphocytic pseudotumors.
PMCID: PMC3229991  PMID: 21189110
22.  Cobalt and Nickel Stabilize Stem Cell Transcription Factor OCT4 through Modulating Its Sumoylation and Ubiquitination 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e86620.
Stem cell research can lead to the development of treatments for a wide range of ailments including diabetes, heart disease, aging, neurodegenerative diseases, spinal cord injury, and cancer. OCT4 is a master regulator of self-renewal of undifferentiated embryonic stem cells. OCT4 also plays a crucial role in reprogramming of somatic cells into induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. Given known vivo reproductive toxicity of cobalt and nickel metals, we examined the effect of these metals on expression of several stem cell factors in embryonic Tera-1 cells, as well as stem cells. Cobalt and nickel induced a concentration-dependent increase of OCT4 and HIF-1α, but not NANOG or KLF4. OCT4 induced by cobalt and nickel was due primarily to protein stabilization because MG132 stabilized OCT4 in cells treated with either metals and because neither nickel nor cobalt significantly modulated its steady-state mRNA level. OCT4 stabilization by cobalt and nickel was mediated largely through reactive oxygen species (ROS) as co-treatment with ascorbic acid abolished OCT4 increase. Moreover, nickel and cobalt treatment increased sumoylation and mono-ubiquitination of OCT4 and K123 was crucial for mediating these modifications. Combined, our observations suggest that nickel and cobalt may exert their reproductive toxicity through perturbing OCT4 activity in the stem cell compartment.
PMCID: PMC3908935  PMID: 24497960
23.  Bare metal stents, durable polymer drug eluting stents, and biodegradable polymer drug eluting stents for coronary artery disease: mixed treatment comparison meta-analysis 
Objective To compare the efficacy and safety of biodegradable polymer drug eluting stents with those of bare metal stents and durable polymer drug eluting stents.
Design Mixed treatment comparison meta-analysis of 258 544 patient years of follow-up from randomized trials.
Data sources and study selection PubMed, Embase, and Central were searched for randomized trials comparing any of the Food and Drug Administration approved durable polymer drug eluting stents (sirolimus eluting, paclitaxel eluting, cobalt chromium everolimus eluting, platinum chromium everolimus eluting, zotarolimus eluting-Endeavor, and zotarolimus eluting-Resolute) or biodegradable polymer drug eluting stents, with each other or against bare metal stents.
Outcomes Long term efficacy (target vessel revascularization, target lesion revascularization) and safety (death, myocardial infarction, stent thrombosis). Landmark analysis at more than one year was evaluated to assess the potential late benefit of biodegradable polymer drug eluting stents.
Results From 126 randomized trials and 258 544 patient years of follow-up, for long term efficacy (target vessel revascularization), biodegradable polymer drug eluting stents were superior to paclitaxel eluting stents (rate ratio 0.66, 95% credibility interval 0.57 to 0.78) and zotarolimus eluting stent-Endeavor (0.69, 0.56 to 0.84) but not to newer generation durable polymer drug eluting stents (for example: 1.03, 0.89 to 1.21 versus cobalt chromium everolimus eluting stents). Similarly, biodegradable polymer drug eluting stents were superior to paclitaxel eluting stents (rate ratio 0.61, 0.37 to 0.89) but inferior to cobalt chromium everolimus eluting stents (2.04, 1.27 to 3.35) for long term safety (definite stent thrombosis). In the landmark analysis after one year, biodegradable polymer drug eluting stents were superior to sirolimus eluting stents for definite stent thrombosis (rate ratio 0.29, 0.10 to 0.82) but were associated with increased mortality compared with cobalt chromium everolimus eluting stents (1.52, 1.02 to 2.22). Overall, among all stent types, the newer generation durable polymer drug eluting stents (zotarolimus eluting stent-Resolute, cobalt chromium everolimus eluting stents, and platinum chromium everolimus eluting stents) were the most efficacious (lowest target vessel revascularization rate) stents, and cobalt chromium everolimus eluting stents were the safest with significant reductions in definite stent thrombosis (rate ratio 0.35, 0.21 to 0.53), myocardial infarction (0.65, 0.55 to 0.75), and death (0.72, 0.58 to 0.90) compared with bare metal stents.
Conclusions Biodegradable polymer drug eluting stents are superior to first generation durable polymer drug eluting stents but not to newer generation durable polymer stents in reducing target vessel revascularization. Newer generation durable polymer stents, and especially cobalt chromium everolimus eluting stents, have the best combination of efficacy and safety. The utility of biodegradable polymer stents in the context of excellent clinical outcomes with newer generation durable polymer stents needs to be proven.
PMCID: PMC3898413  PMID: 24212107
24.  Changes in blood ion levels after removal of metal-on-metal hip replacements 
Acta Orthopaedica  2014;85(3):259-265.
Background and purpose
In patients with metal-on-metal (MoM) hip prostheses, pain and joint effusions may be associated with elevated blood levels of cobalt and chromium ions. Since little is known about the kinetics of metal ion clearance from the body and the rate of resolution of elevated blood ion levels, we examined the time course of cobalt and chromium ion levels after revision of MoM hip replacements.
Patients and methods
We included 16 patients (13 female) who underwent revision of a painful MoM hip (large diameter, modern bearing) without fracture or infection, and who had a minimum of 4 blood metal ion measurements over an average period of 6.1 (0–12) months after revision.
Average blood ion concentrations at the time of revision were 22 ppb for chromium and 43 ppb for cobalt. The change in ion levels after revision surgery varied extensively between patients. In many cases, over the second and third months after revision surgery ion levels decreased to 50% of the values measured at revision. Decay of chromium levels occurred more slowly than decay of cobalt levels, with a 9% lag in return to normal levels. The rate of decay of both metals followed second-order (exponential) kinetics more closely than first-order (linear) kinetics.
The elimination of cobalt and chromium from the blood of patients who have undergone revision of painful MoM hip arthroplasties follows an exponential decay curve with a half-life of approximately 50 days. Elevated blood levels of cobalt and chromium ions can persist for at least 1 year after revision, especially in patients with high levels of exposure.
PMCID: PMC4062792  PMID: 24758321
25.  Effect of hard metal dust on ventilatory function. 
The effect of hard metal dust generated in shaping on ventilatory function has been studied, in particular, the relation between levels of exposure to cobalt and changes in ventilatory function. In 15 healthy young men a significant decrease in FVC occurred after a six hour exposure to hard metal dust containing cobalt at a mean concentration of 38 micrograms/m3 (range 14-76 micrograms/m3). No dose-effect relation could be discerned between the decrease in FVC and the hard metal concentration or the cobalt concentration. All the subjects complained of irritation of the airways. On the other hand, in 42 shaping workers exposed to cobalt at an average concentration of 85 micrograms/m3 no significant decreases in ventilatory function were detected after seven hour exposures to hard metal, although in 42 shapers, who had been exposed to cobalt at a mean concentration of 126 micrograms/m3, the FEV1% was significantly decreased compared with matched controls. This finding suggests that hard metal dust containing cobalt at a mean concentration of 126 micrograms/m3 causes chronic bronchial obstruction.
PMCID: PMC1007688  PMID: 3718896

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