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New process to form a silk fibroin porous 3-D structure.

Author(s): Tamada Y

Affiliation(s): National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences, 1-2 Owashi, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8634. ytamada@affrc.go.jp

Publication date & source: 2005-11, Biomacromolecules., 6(6):3100-6.

Publication type: Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

A new process to form fibroin spongy porous 3-D structure is reported herein. The process involves freezing and thawing fibroin aqueous solution in the presence of a small amount of an organic solvent. The process requires no freeze-drying, chemical cross-linking, or the aid of other polymeric materials. The solvent concentration, fibroin concentration, freezing temperature, and freezing duration affect the sponge formation, its porous structure, and its mechanical properties. Measurements by XRD and FTIR indicate that silk I and silk II crystalline structures exist in the fibroin sponge and that the secondary structure of fibroin is transformed to a beta-sheet from a random coil during this process. The tensile strength decreased slightly, but the fibroin sponge showed no deformation after autoclaving. Therefore, the fibroin sponge was sterilized using an autoclave. For 3 weeks, MC3T3 cells proliferated in the sterilized fibroin sponge. The fibroin sponge formed by this new process is applicable as a tissue-engineering scaffold because it is formed from biocompatible pure silk fibroin and offers both porous structure and mechanical properties that are suitable for cell growth and handling.

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