Engineered Skin Grown on Spider Silk

An interesting open access paper describes one of many approaches to building skin from a scaffold material and a patient's own cells: "The ideal biomaterial should promote attachment, proliferation and growth of cells. Additionally, it should degrade in an appropriate time period without releasing harmful substances, but not exert a pathological immune response. Spider dragline silk from Nephila spp meets these demands to a large extent. ... Native spider dragline silk, harvested directly out of Nephila spp spiders, was woven on steel frames. Constructs were sterilized and seeded with fibroblasts. After two weeks of cultivating single fibroblasts, keratinocytes were added to generate a bilayered skin model, consisting of dermis and epidermis equivalents. ... Both fibroblasts and keratinocytes cell lines adhere to the spider silk fibres and proliferate. Guided by the spider silk fibres, they sprout into the meshes and reach confluence in at most one week. A well-balanced, bilayered cocultivation in two continuously separated strata can be achieved by serum reduction, changing the medium conditions and the cultivation period at the air/liquid interphase. Therefore spider silk appears to be a promising biomaterial for the enhancement of skin regeneration."



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