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J Biomed Mater Res B Appl Biomater. 2010 Oct;95(1):19-28. doi: 10.1002/jbm.b.31678.

PLGA nanofiber-coated silk microfibrous scaffold for connective tissue engineering.

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  • 1NUS Tissue Engineering Program, National University of Singapore, Singapore.


A modified degumming technique, involving boiling in 0.25% Na2CO3 with addition of 1% sodium dodecyl sulphate and intermittent ultrasonic agitation, was developed for knitted silk scaffolds. Sericin was efficiently removed, while mechanical and structural properties of native silk fibroin were preserved. Biocompatible and mechanically robust hybrid nano-microscaffolds were fabricated by coating these degummed silk scaffolds with an intervening adhesive layer of silk solution followed by electrospun poly-lactic-co-glycolic acid (PLGA) nanofibers. Cell proliferation on the hybrid silk scaffolds was improved by seeding cells on both surfaces of the flat scaffolds. Rolling up and continued culture of the cell-seeded hybrid scaffolds yielded cylindrical constructs that permitted cell proliferation, extracellular matrix deposition, and generated ligament/tendon graft analogs. Although PLGA-based hybrid scaffolds have earlier been proposed for dense connective tissue engineering, rapid biodegradation of PLGA was a drawback. In contrast, the underlying strong and slowly-degrading microfibrous silk scaffold used in this study ensured that the hybrid scaffold maintained adequate mechanical properties for longer periods, which is vital for continued support to the injured ligament/tendon throughout its healing period.

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