Research Highlight

Silk scaffolds for artificial organs

doi:10.1038/nindia.2009.329 Published online 9 November 2009

Researchers Utpal Bora (left)& Naresh Kasoju.

Researchers have designed a silk protein-based tiny scaffold that could revolutionize tissue engineering1.

The tiny biocompatible fibrous scaffold may have a wide range of applications in making dressing materials for burns and wounds or as a matrix for bio artificial liver devices.

The researchers purified fibroin, a protein from the cocoons of Antheraea assama, an indigenous species of silkworm from Assam.

They fabricated a non-woven scaffold comprising micro (1-20 micrometer) and nano fibres (150-500 nm). It split fibroin into fibrils. The nano-fibrous network provided increased surface area for cell growth and the micro-fibres provide adequate mechanical strength.

Studies with cultured lung carcinoma cell line reveal that the fibroin-based scaffolds are biocompatible, nontoxic and possess enhanced blood compatibility.

"The scaffold has a favorable chemistry and internal micro-architecture required for a good biological response," says lead researcher Utpal Bora. The team is exploring the possibility of a fibroin-based template for three dimensional cell culture of cells for application in drug screening.

The authors of this work are from: Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering Laboratory, Department of Biotechnology, Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati, Assam and Tissue Engineering and Banking Laboratory, National Centre for Cell Science, Pune, Maharashtra, India.


  1. Kasoju, N. et al. Fabrication of a novel micro–nano fibrous nonwoven scaffold with Antheraea assama silk fibroin for use in tissue engineering. Mater. Lett. 63, 2466-2469 (2009) | Article |