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J Control Release. 2007 Aug 28;121(3):190-9. Epub 2007 Jun 14.

Nanolayer biomaterial coatings of silk fibroin for controlled release.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering, Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts 02155, USA.


An all-aqueous, stepwise deposition process with silk fibroin protein for the assembly of nanoscale layered controlled release coatings was exploited. Model compounds, Rhodamine B, Even Blue and Azoalbumin, representing small molecule drugs and therapeutically relevant proteins were incorporated in the nanocoating process and their loading and release behavior was quantified. In addition, the structure and morphology of the coatings were characterized. Release studies in vitro showed that control of beta-sheet crystal content and the multilayer structure of the silk coatings correlated with the release properties of the incorporated compounds. In particular, higher crystallinity and a thicker silk capping layer suppressed the initial burst of release and prolonged the duration of release. These novel coatings and deposition approach provide a unique option to regulate structure and morphology, and thus release kinetics. The results also suggest these systems as a promising framework for surface engineering of biomaterials and medical devices to regulate the release of drugs, when considered with the all-aqueous process involved, the conformal nature of the coatings, the robust material properties of silk fibroin, and the degradability and biocompatibility of this family of protein.

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