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Fabrication of Silk Scaffolds with Nanomicroscaled Structures and Tunable Stiffness

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journal contribution
posted on 02.06.2017, 00:00 authored by Liying Xiao, Shanshan Liu, Danyu Yao, Zhaozhao Ding, Zhihai Fan, Qiang Lu, David L. Kaplan
Detailed control of nano- and microstructures in porous biomaterial scaffold systems is important for control of interfacial and biological functions. Self-assembled silk protein nanostructured building blocks were incorporated into salt-leached scaffolds to control these features. Controllable concentration and pH were used to induce the formation of amorphous silk nanofibers in solution and also to reduce β-sheet transformation during the more traditional salt-leaching process. These new scaffolds showed nanofibrous-microporous structures, reduced β-sheet content, and tunable mechanical properties. Bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells grew better and showed differentiation behavior on these nanofibrous scaffolds, suggesting cytocompatibility and support for tunable differentiation via the scaffolds. These results suggested a new strategy of designing bioactive silk scaffolds by combining traditional scaffold formation processes with the controllable self-assembly of silk.