Silk-based delivery systems of bioactive molecules.

Department of Biomedical Engineering, Tufts University, Medford, MA 02155, USA.
Advanced drug delivery reviews (Impact Factor: 11.96). 03/2010; 62(15):1497-508. DOI: 10.1016/j.addr.2010.03.009
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Silks are biodegradable, biocompatible, self-assembling proteins that can also be tailored via genetic engineering to contain specific chemical features, offering utility for drug and gene delivery. Silkworm silk has been used in biomedical sutures for decades and has recently achieved Food and Drug Administration approval for expanded biomaterials device utility. With the diversity and control of size, structure and chemistry, modified or recombinant silk proteins can be designed and utilized in various biomedical application, such as for the delivery of bioactive molecules. This review focuses on the biosynthesis and applications of silk-based multi-block copolymer systems and related silk protein drug delivery systems. The utility of these systems for the delivery of small molecule drugs, proteins and genes is reviewed.

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    ABSTRACT: Degradation behavior is very important in the field of silk-based biomaterials. Mulberry and nonmulberry silk fibroins are structurally and functionally distinguishable; however, no studies have examined the differences in the degradation behaviors of silk materials from various silkworm species. In this study, Ca(NO3)2 was used as a uniform solvent to obtain regenerated mulberry and nonmulberry (Antheraea pernyi and Antheraea yamamai) silk fibroin (SF) solutions, and the degradation behaviors of various SF scaffolds were examined. In vitro and in vivo results demonstrated that regenerated mulberry SF scaffolds exhibited significantly higher mass loss and free amino acid content release than did nonmulberry SF scaffolds. The differences in the primary structures and condensed structures between mulberry and nonmulberry SF contributed to the significant difference in degradation rates, in which the characteristic (–Ala–)n repeats, compact crystal structure and high α-helix and β-sheet contents make nonmulberry SF more resistant than mulberry SF to enzymatic degradation. Moreover, the Antheraea pernyi and Antheraea yamamai SFs possess similar primary structures and condensed structures, although a slight difference in degradation was observed; this difference might depend on the differences in molecular weight following the regeneration process. The results indicate that the original sources of SF significantly influence the degradation rates of SF-based materials; therefore, the original sources of SF should be fully considered for preparing tissue engineering scaffolds with matched degradation rates.
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