Our research focuses on combining the valuable properties of silk fibroin (SF) and calcium phosphate (CaP). SF is a natural protein with an easily modifiable structure; CaP is a mineral found in the human body. Most of the new age biocomposites lack interaction between organic/inorganic phase, thus SF/CaP composite could not only mimic the natural bone, but could also be used to make drug delivery systems as well, which can ensure both healing and regeneration. CaP was synthesized in situ in SF at different pH values, and then crosslinked with gelatin (G), horseradish peroxide (HRP), and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). In addition, dexamethasone phosphate (DEX) was incorporated in the hydrogel and drug delivery kinetics was studied. Hydrogel made at pH 10.0 was found to have the highest gel fraction 110.24%, swelling degree 956.32%, and sustained drug delivery for 72 h. The highest cell viability was observed for the hydrogel, which contained brushite (pH 6)-512.43%.
Keywords: 3D visualization; calcium phosphates; cell viability; composite materials; drug delivery; hydrogels; silk fibroin.