Bioactive macro/micro porous silk fibroin/nano-sized calcium phosphate scaffolds with potential for bone-tissue-engineering applications

Nanomedicine (Lond). 2013 Mar;8(3):359-78. doi: 10.2217/nnm.12.118. Epub 2012 Dec 24.


Aim: The development of novel silk/nano-sized calcium phosphate (silk/nano-CaP) scaffolds with highly dispersed CaP nanoparticles in the silk fibroin (SF) matrix for bone tissue engineering.

Materials & methods: Nano-CaP was incorporated in a concentrated aqueous SF solution (16 wt.%) by using an in situ synthesis method. The silk/nano-CaP scaffolds were then prepared through a combination of salt-leaching/lyophilization approaches.

Results: The CaP particles presented good affinity to SF and their size was inferior to 200 nm when theoretical CaP/silk ratios were between 4 and 16 wt.%, as determined by scanning electron microscopy. The CaP particles displayed a uniform distribution in the scaffolds at both microscopic and macroscopic scales as observed by backscattered scanning electron microscopy and micro-computed tomography, respectively. The prepared scaffolds presented self-mineralization capability and no cytotoxicity confirmed by in vitro bioactivity tests and cell viability assays, respectively.

Conclusion: These results indicated that the produced silk/nano-CaP scaffolds could be suitable candidates for bone-tissue-engineering applications.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biocompatible Materials / chemistry
  • Bombyx
  • Bone and Bones / chemistry*
  • Calcifying Nanoparticles / chemistry*
  • Calcifying Nanoparticles / therapeutic use
  • Calcium Phosphates / chemistry*
  • Calcium Phosphates / therapeutic use
  • Fibroins / chemistry*
  • Fibroins / ultrastructure
  • Humans
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Particle Size
  • Porosity
  • Silk / chemistry*
  • Silk / ultrastructure
  • Tissue Engineering
  • Tissue Scaffolds / chemistry


  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Calcifying Nanoparticles
  • Calcium Phosphates
  • Silk
  • Fibroins
  • calcium phosphate