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J Mater Sci Mater Med. 2008 Nov;19(11):3399-409. doi: 10.1007/s10856-008-3474-6. Epub 2008 Jun 11.

Silkworm and spider silk scaffolds for chondrocyte support.

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  • 1Department of Textiles, Ghent University, Technology Park 9, 9052, Zwijnaarde, Belgium.



To create scaffolds with silkworm cocoon, spider egg sac and spider dragline silk fibres and examine their use for chondrocyte attachment and support.


Three different kinds of scaffolds were developed with Bombyx mori cocoon, Araneus diadematus egg sac and dragline silk fibres. The attachment of human articular cartilage cells were investigated on these bioprotein matrices. The chondrocytes produced an extracellular matrix which was studied by immunostaining. Moreover, the compression behaviour in relation to the porosity was studied.


The compression modulus of a silkworm silk scaffold was related to its porosity. Chondrocytes were able to attach and to grow on the different fibres and in the scaffolds for several weeks while producing extracellular matrix products.


Porous scaffolds can be made out of silkworm and spider silk for cartilage regeneration. Mechanical properties are related to porosity and pore size of the construct. Cell spreading and cell expression depended on the porosity and pore-size.

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