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Biomaterials. 2005 Jan;26(2):147-55.

The inflammatory responses to silk films in vitro and in vivo.

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  • 1Division of Health Sciences & Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, E25-330, 45 Carleton Street, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.


Silks have a long history of biomedical use as sutures. Silk can be purified, chemically modified to attach RGD sequences and processed into highly porous scaffolds for tissue engineering. We report biocompatibility studies of silk films (with or without covalently bound RGD) that were seeded with bone-marrow derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) and (a) cultured in vitro with human MSC or (b) seeded with autologous rat MSC and implanted in vivo. Controls for in vitro studies included tissue culture plastic (TCP; negative control), TCP with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) in the cell culture medium (positive control), and collagen films; controls for in vivo studies included collagen, PLA and TCP. After 9 h of culture, the expression of the pro-inflammatory Interleukin 1 beta (IL-1beta) and inflammatory cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2) in human MSC were comparable for silk, collagen and TCP. After 30 and 96 h, gene expression of IL-1beta and COX-2 in MSC returned to the baseline (pre-seeding) levels. These data were corroborated by measuring IL-1beta and prostaglandin E2 levels in culture medium. The rate of cell proliferation was higher on silk films than either on collagen or TCP. In vivo, films made of silk, collagen or PLA were seeded with rat MSCs, implanted intramuscularly in rats and harvested after 6 weeks. Histological and immunohistochemical evaluation of silk explants revealed the presence of circumferentially oriented fibroblasts, few blood vessels, macrophages at the implant-host interface, and the absence of giant cells. Inflammatory tissue reaction was more conspicuous around collagen films and even more around PLA films when compared to silk. These data suggest that (a) purified degradable silk is biocompatible and (b) the in vitro cell culture model (hMSC seeded and cultured on biomaterial films) gave inflammatory responses that were comparable to those observed in vivo.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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