Local tolerance to spider silks and protein polymers in vivo

In Vivo. 2002 Jul-Aug;16(4):229-34.


Spider silks were implanted subcutaneously in pigs for a study of the tolerance against this material. Four types of spider silks of high purity and cleanliness were implanted: (i) major ampullate dragline silk reeled from the golden silk spider Nephila clavipes, (ii) native (unsterilised) silk reeled from a Brachypelma spider, (iii) native silk taken from this spider's web and (iv) its web silk thermally treated at 80 degrees C. For comparison we used fibrous silk analogue protein polymers and four already marketed wound dressings (polyurethane film, collagen dressings, gauze pads). All materials were applied epicutaneously to split skin wounds. The implants were examined macroscopically as well as by light microscopy. Superficially, all sites healed rapidly. There were marked inflammatory reactions in all sites with lympho-plasmacellular infiltrations, evidence of phagocytosis and granuloma formation as indicated by the appearance of giant cells. However there was a marked absence of epitheloid cells indicating that the observed reaction was a foreign body granuloma. Furthermore, the histopathological images recorded after 14 days revealed no marked differences between the dressings. Polyurethane films, however, seemed to be superior with respect to the duration of the wound healing process.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biocompatible Materials / pharmacology*
  • Collagen / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Insect Proteins / pharmacology*
  • Polyurethanes / pharmacology*
  • Silk
  • Skin / pathology
  • Spiders*
  • Sutures
  • Wound Healing / drug effects*


  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Insect Proteins
  • Polyurethanes
  • Silk
  • Collagen