De novo engineering of reticular connective tissue in vivo by silk fibroin nonwoven materials

Biomaterials. 2005 May;26(14):1987-99. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2004.06.036.


Biologically tolerated biomaterials are the focus of intense research. In this work, we examined the biocompatibility of three-dimensional (3D) nonwovens of sericin-deprived, Bombyx mori silk fibroin (SF) in beta-sheet form implanted into the subcutaneous tissue of C57BL6 mice, using sham-operated mice as controls. Both groups of mice similarly healed with no residual problem. Macroarray analysis showed that an early (day 3) transient expression of macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) mRNA, but not of the mRNAs encoding for 22 additional proinflammatory cytokines, occurred solely at SF-grafted places, where no remarkable infiltration of macrophages or lymphocytes subsequently happened. Even an enduring moderate increase in total cytokeratins without epidermal hyperkeratosis and a transient (days 10-15) upsurge of vimentin occurred exclusively at SF-grafted sites, whose content of collagen type-I, after a delayed (day 15) rise, ultimately fell considerably under that proper of sham-operated places. By day 180, the interstices amid and surfaces of the SF chords, which had not been appreciably biodegraded, were crammed with a newly produced tissue histologically akin to a vascularized reticular connective tissue, while some macrophages but no lymphocytic infiltrates or fibrous capsules occurred in the adjoining tissues. Therefore, SF nonwovens may be excellent candidates for clinical applications since they both enjoy a long-lasting biocompatibility, inducing a quite mild foreign body response, but no fibrosis, and efficiently guide reticular connective tissue engineering.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biocompatible Materials / adverse effects*
  • Biocompatible Materials / chemistry*
  • Connective Tissue / growth & development*
  • Connective Tissue / pathology
  • Fibroins / adverse effects*
  • Fibroins / chemistry*
  • Fibroins / immunology
  • Fibroins / therapeutic use
  • Foreign-Body Reaction / etiology
  • Foreign-Body Reaction / immunology
  • Foreign-Body Reaction / pathology*
  • Guided Tissue Regeneration / methods
  • Implants, Experimental / adverse effects
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Neovascularization, Physiologic / drug effects
  • Tissue Engineering / methods*


  • Biocompatible Materials
  • fibroin, silkworm
  • Fibroins