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High-strength silk scaffolds improve bone repair
Date:4/30/2012

ss and surface roughness that enhanced human mesenchymal stem cell differentiation compared to control silk sponges. In combination with inherent silk fiber strength, compact fiber reinforcement enhanced compressive properties within the scaffolds.

"By adding the microfibers to the silk scaffolds, we get stronger mechanical properties as well as better bone formation. Both structure and function are improved," said David Kaplan, Ph.D., chair of biomedical engineering at Tufts University. "This approach could be used for many other tissue systems where control of mechanical properties is useful and has broad applications for regenerative medicine."

Other authors on the paper were Biman B. Mandal, former post doctoral associate in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Tufts and now in the Department of Biotechnology, Indian Institute of Technology; visiting biomedical engineering student Ariela Grinberg, who recently completed her degree in the Department of Tissue Engineering, Cell Therapy and Regenerative Medicine at the National Institute of Rehabilitation, Mexico; and Eun Seok Gil and Bruce Panilaitis, research associate and research assistant professor respectively in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Tufts.

The Tufts scientists used a novel approach to manufacturing the silk microfibers: applying alkaline hydrolysis (the use of alkali chemicals to break down complex molecules into their building blocks). This greatly reduced the time and cost of making the microfibers in a variety of sizes. Microfibers ranging from 10 to 20 um were obtained in one minute, compared with production of 100 um plus size fibers after 12 minutes of conventional processing.

Although significant improvements in compressive properties were observed in the silk composite scaffolds, values were still significantly lower than that of stronger native bone. The Tufts researchers suggest that such scaffolds can play a valuable role as tem
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Contact: Kim Thurler
kim.thurler@tufts.edu
617-627-3175
Tufts University
Source:Eurekalert

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