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J Biomed Mater Res A. 2006 Aug;78(2):324-34.

Porous silk fibroin 3-D scaffolds for delivery of bone morphogenetic protein-2 in vitro and in vivo.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering Chemical and Biological Engineering, Tufts University, 4 Colby Street, Medford, Massachusetts 02155, USA.


Bone morphogenetic protein-2 (BMP-2) plays a key role in osteogenesis. Biomaterials used for the sustained delivery of BMP-2 in vivo have shown therapeutic benefits. In the present study, BMP-2 was loaded in porous silk fibroin scaffolds derived from silkworm cocoons (2.4 +/- 0.14 microg per scaffold). The release profile of BMP-2 under dynamic culture conditions (spinner flasks) showed that after 1 week in culture 25% of the initial BMP-2 was retained adsorbed to the scaffold; up to 4 weeks no additional BMP-2 was released. BMP-2 induced human bone marrow stromal cells (hMSCs) to undergo osteogenic differentiation when the seeded scaffolds were cultured in medium supplemented with osteogenic stimulants for 4 weeks, based on elevated alkaline phosphatase activity, calcium deposition, and transcript levels for bone sialoprotein, osteopontin, osteocalcin, BMP-2, and cbfa-1. Micro-computed tomography revealed densely deposited mineral at the center of the scaffolds. In contrast, hMSCs cultured in control scaffolds (no BMP-2) exhibited limited osteogenesis. When implanted in critical sized cranial defects in mice, scaffolds loaded with BMP-2 and seeded with hMSCs resulted in significant bone ingrowth. These results were qualitatively similar to scaffolds loaded with BMP-2 but no hMSCs or with BMP-2 and hMSCs but not pregrown into bone-like tissue. Bone-related outcomes were improved when compared with the scaffold controls implanted without BMP-2. These studies illustrate the potential use of slow degrading silk fibroin 3-D scaffolds loaded with BMP-2, in combination with hMSCs, in osteogenesis studies in vitro and in vivo, and provide a new range of material properties for these applications.

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