Silk fibroin coating through EDC/NHS crosslink is an effective method to promote graft remodeling of a polyethylene terephthalate artificial ligament

J Biomater Appl. 2019 May;33(10):1407-1414. doi: 10.1177/0885328219836625. Epub 2019 Mar 18.


Anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction using polyethylene terephthalate artificial ligaments is one of the research hotspots in sports medicine but it is still challenging to achieve biological healing. The purpose of this study was to modify polyethylene terephthalate ligament with silk fibroin through ethyl-3-(3-dimethylaminopropyl)carbodiimide (EDC)/N-hydroxysuccinimide (NHS) crosslink and to investigate the performance of graft remodeling in vitro and in vivo. After silk fibroin coating, changes in the surface properties of ligament were characterized by scanning electron microscopy, attenuated total reflectance-Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and water contact angle measurements. The compatibility of polyethylene terephthalate ligament with silk fibroin coating was investigated in vitro. The results showed the silk fibroin coating significantly improved adhesion, proliferation and extracellular matrix secretion of fibroblast cells. Moreover, a rabbit anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction model was established to evaluate the effect of ligament with silk fibroin coating in vivo. The gross observation and histological results showed that the silk fibroin coating significantly inhibited inflammation response and promoted new tissue regeneration with fusiform cells infiltration in and around the graft. Furthermore, the expressions of collagen I protein and mRNA in the silk fibroin-coated polyethylene terephthalate group were much higher than those in the control group according to the immunohistochemical and real-time polymerase chain reaction results. Therefore, silk fibroin coating through EDC/NHS crosslink promotes the biocompatibility and remodeling process of polyethylene terephthalate artificial ligament in vitro and in vivo. It can be considered as a potential solution to the problem of poor remodeling of artificial ligaments after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction in the clinical applications.

Keywords: EDC/NHS crosslink; Polyethylene terephthalate; artificial ligament; remodeling; silk fibroin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament / surgery*
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries / therapy*
  • Cell Line
  • Coated Materials, Biocompatible / chemistry
  • Coated Materials, Biocompatible / therapeutic use*
  • Cross-Linking Reagents / chemistry
  • Cross-Linking Reagents / therapeutic use
  • Ethyldimethylaminopropyl Carbodiimide / chemistry
  • Ethyldimethylaminopropyl Carbodiimide / therapeutic use
  • Fibroblasts / cytology
  • Fibroins / chemistry
  • Fibroins / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Polyethylene Terephthalates / chemistry
  • Polyethylene Terephthalates / therapeutic use*
  • Rabbits
  • Succinimides / chemistry
  • Succinimides / therapeutic use
  • Surface Properties


  • Coated Materials, Biocompatible
  • Cross-Linking Reagents
  • Polyethylene Terephthalates
  • Succinimides
  • Fibroins
  • N-hydroxysuccinimide
  • Ethyldimethylaminopropyl Carbodiimide