Human hair keratins have proven to be a viable biomaterial for diverse regenerative applications. However, the most significant characteristic of this material, the ability to self-assemble into nanoscale intermediate filaments, has not been exploited. Herein, we successfully demonstrated the induction of hair-extracted keratin self-assembly in vitro to form dense, homogeneous, and continuous nanofibrous networks. These networks remain hydrolytically stable in vitro for up to 5 days in complete cell culture media and are compatible with primary human dermal fibroblasts and keratinocytes. These results enhance the versatility of human hair keratins for applications where structured assembly is of benefit.
Keywords: biomaterial; coating; keratin; nanofibers; self-assembly.