Iranian researchers produced biocompatible and biodegradable nanocomposite scaffolds by using a type of natural silk with no cellular toxicity observed in the experiments.
Silk fibroin is a natural polymer produced by various insects. This substance has applications in the production of tissue engineering scaffolds as a biological material due to its appropriate mechanical properties and computability. It can also be used in the production of artificial skin or other medical stuff.
In this research, nanocomposite scaffold was made of silk fibroin, chitosan and alumina through freeze drying method. The produced scaffold has a homogenous structure with pore sizes of 135-148 micrometers.
"The size of pores decreases due to the presence of alumina ceramic nanoparticles in the synthesis of the nanocomposite scaffold. In addition, when alumin ceramic is added to the polymeric bed, the mechanical properties of the scaffold increases and desirable biocompatibility properties are obtained. Therefore, the proposed nanocomposite scaffold is appropriate from the amount and porosity distribution points of view for the growth of gum fibroblast cells," Dr. Abbas Teimouri, one of the researchers, stated.
According to the researcher, the mechanical strength, degradability, water sorption and inorganic bioactivity of the produced nanocomposite scaffold have been evaluated by carrying out various tests, including MTT and liquid movement porosimetry. Based on the results, the interaction between the organic and inorganic phases increases mechanical properties and water sorption of silk fibroin/chitosan/alumina scaffold. In addition, no sign of toxicity has been observed at the laboratorial scale.
Results of the research have been published in RSC Advances, vol. 5, issue 35, 2015, pp. 27558-27570.