Silk Fibroin as a Functional Biomaterial for Tissue Engineering.


Sun W(1), Gregory DA(1)(2), Tomeh MA(1), Zhao X(1)(3).
Author information:
(1)Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, University of Sheffield, Sheffield S1 3JD, UK.
(2)Department of Material Science and Engineering, University of Sheffield, Sheffield S3 7HQ, UK.
(3)School of Pharmacy, Changzhou University, Changzhou 213164, China.


Tissue engineering (TE) is the approach to combine cells with scaffold materials and appropriate growth factors to regenerate or replace damaged or degenerated tissue or organs. The scaffold material as a template for tissue formation plays the most important role in TE. Among scaffold materials, silk fibroin (SF), a natural protein with outstanding mechanical properties, biodegradability, biocompatibility, and bioresorbability has attracted significant attention for TE applications. SF is commonly dissolved into an aqueous solution and can be easily reconstructed into different material formats, including films, mats, hydrogels, and sponges via various fabrication techniques. These include spin coating, electrospinning, freeze drying, physical, and chemical crosslinking techniques. Furthermore, to facilitate fabrication of more complex SF-based scaffolds with high precision techniques including micro-patterning and bio-printing have recently been explored. This review introduces the physicochemical and mechanical properties of SF and looks into a range of SF-based scaffolds that have been recently developed. The typical TE applications of SF-based scaffolds including bone, cartilage, ligament, tendon, skin, wound healing, and tympanic membrane, will be highlighted and discussed, followed by future prospects and challenges needing to be addressed.