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Impact of processing parameters on the haemocompatibility of Bombyx mori silk films

Seib, F Philipp and Maitz, Manfred F and Werner, Carsten and Kaplan, David L (2012) Impact of processing parameters on the haemocompatibility of Bombyx mori silk films. Biomaterials, 33 (4). pp. 1017-1023.

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Silk has traditionally been used for surgical sutures due to its lasting strength and durability; however, the use of purified silk proteins as a scaffold material for vascular tissue engineering goes beyond traditional use and requires application-orientated biocompatibility testing. For this study, a library of Bombyx mori silk films was generated and exposed to various solvents and treatment conditions to reflect current silk processing techniques. The films, along with clinically relevant reference materials, were exposed to human whole blood to determine silk blood compatibility. All substrates showed an initial inflammatory response comparable to polylactide-co-glycolide (PLGA), and a low to moderate haemostasis response similar to polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) substrates. In particular, samples that were water annealed at 25 °C for 6 h demonstrated the best blood compatibility based on haemostasis parameters (e.g. platelet decay, thrombin-antithrombin complex, platelet factor 4, granulocytes-platelet conjugates) and inflammatory parameters (e.g. C3b, C5a, CD11b, surface-associated leukocytes). Multiple factors such as treatment temperature and solvent influenced the biological response, though no single physical parameter such as β-sheet content, isoelectric point or contact angle accurately predicted blood compatibility. These findings, when combined with prior in vivo data on silk, support a viable future for silk-based vascular grafts.