Engineering adipose-like tissue in vitro and in vivo utilizing human bone marrow and adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells with silk fibroin 3D scaffolds

Biomaterials. 2007 Dec;28(35):5280-90. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2007.08.017. Epub 2007 Aug 31.


Biomaterials derived from silk fibroin prepared by aqueous (AB) and organic (HFIP) solvent-based processes, along with collagen (COL) and poly-lactic acid (PLA)-based scaffolds were studied in vitro and in vivo for their utility in adipose tissue engineering strategies. For in vitro studies, human bone marrow and adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs and hASCs) were seeded on the various biomaterials and cultured for 21 days in the presence of adipogenic stimulants (AD) or maintained as noninduced controls. Alamar Blue analysis revealed each biomaterial supported initial attachment of hMSCs and hASCs to similar levels for all matrices except COL in which higher levels were observed. hASCs and hMSCs cultured on all biomaterials in the presence of AD showed significant upregulation of adipogenic mRNA transcript levels (LPL, GLUT4, FABP4, PPARgamma, adipsin, ACS) to similar extents when compared to noninduced controls. Similarly Oil-Red O analysis of hASC or hMSC-seeded scaffolds displayed substantial amounts of lipid accumulating adipocytes following cultivation with AD. The data revealed AB and HFIP scaffolds supported similar extents of lipid accumulating cells while PLA and COL scaffolds qualitatively displayed lower and higher extents by comparison, respectively. Following a 4-week implantation period in a rat muscle pouch defect model, both AB and HFIP scaffolds supported in vivo adipogenesis either alone or seeded with hASCs or hMSCs as assessed by Oil-Red O analysis, however the presence of exogenous cell sources substantially increased the extent and frequency of adipogenesis observed. In contrast, COL and PLA scaffolds underwent rapid scaffold degradation and were irretrievable following the implantation period. The results suggest that macroporous 3D AB and HFIP silk fibroin scaffolds offer an important platform for cell-based adipose tissue engineering applications, and in particular, provide longer-term structural integrity to promote the maintenance of soft tissue in vivo.

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue* / cytology
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Bombyx
  • Bone Marrow Cells* / cytology
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Fibroins*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells* / cytology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Nude
  • Silk*
  • Tissue Engineering*
  • Tissue Scaffolds*


  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Silk
  • Fibroins