International Journal of Artificial Organs
Volume 29, Issue 9, September 2006, Pages 881-892
Physical-chemical and biological characterization of silk fibroin-coated porous membrane for medical applications
Cassinelli, C., Cascardo, G., Morra, M, Draghi, L., Motta, A., Catapano, G.
Membranes in artificial organs and scaffolds for tissue engineering are often coated with biomimetic molecules (e.g., collagen) to improve their biocompatibility and promote primary cell adhesion and differentiation. However, animal proteins are expensive and may be contaminated with prions. Silk fibroin (SF) made by Bombyx Mori silk worms, used as a scaffold or grafted to other polymers, reportedly promotes the adhesion and growth of many human cell types. This paper describes how commercial porous membranes were physically coated with SF, and their physical-chemical properties were characterized by SEM, AFM, tensile stress analysis and dynamic contact angle measurements. The effect of the SF coating on membrane biocompatibility and resistance to bacterial colonization is also examined. The proposed technique yields SF coats of different thickness that strengthen the membranes and make their surface remarkably more wettable. The SF coat is not cytotoxic, and promotes the adhesion and proliferation of an immortalized fibroblast cell line. Similarly to collagen, SF-coated membranes also exhibit a much better resistance to the adhesion of S. epidermidis bacteria than uncoated membranes. These preliminary results suggest that SF is a feasible alternative to collagen as a biomimetic coating for 3D scaffolds for tissue engineering or bioartificial (as well as artificial) prosthesis.
Bacterial resistance; Coating; Cytocompatibility; Membrane; Silk fibroin