Silk sericin: A versatile material for tissue engineering and drug delivery

Biotechnol Adv. 2015 Dec;33(8):1855-67. doi: 10.1016/j.biotechadv.2015.10.014. Epub 2015 Oct 31.


Sericin is an inexpensive glycoprotein obtained as a by-product in the silk industry. Its variable amino acid composition and diverse functional groups confer upon it attractive bioactive properties, which are particularly interesting for biomedical applications. Because of its antioxidant character, moisturizing ability, and mitogenic effect on mammalian cells, sericin is useful in cell culture and tissue engineering. Its positive effects on keratinocytes and fibroblasts have led to the development of sericin-based biomaterials for skin tissue repair, mainly as wound dressings. Additionally, sericin can be used for bone tissue engineering owing to its ability to induce nucleation of bone-like hydroxyapatite. Stable silk sericin biomaterials, such as films, sponges, and hydrogels, are prepared by cross-linking, ethanol precipitation, or blending with other polymers. Sericin may also be employed for drug delivery because its chemical reactivity and pH-responsiveness facilitate the fabrication of nano- and microparticles, hydrogels, and conjugated molecules, improving the bioactivity of drugs. Here, we summarized the recent advancements in the study of silk sericin for application in tissue engineering and drug delivery.

Keywords: Bioactivity; Biomaterials; Drug delivery; Silk sericin; Tissue engineering; Tissue regeneration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / chemistry*
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use
  • Bandages*
  • Biocompatible Materials / chemistry
  • Biocompatible Materials / therapeutic use
  • Drug Delivery Systems
  • Humans
  • Hydrogels / chemistry
  • Sericins / biosynthesis
  • Sericins / chemistry
  • Sericins / therapeutic use*
  • Silk / chemistry
  • Tissue Engineering*
  • Wound Healing


  • Antioxidants
  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Hydrogels
  • Sericins
  • Silk