Hydrogen sulfide-releasing silk fibroin scaffold for bone tissue engineering

Laura Gambari, Emanuela Amore, Rosasilvia Raggio, Walter Bonani, Marli Barone, Gina Lisignoli, Brunella Grigolo, Antonella Motta, Francesco Grassi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hydrogen sulfide (H 2 S)-based therapy is a promising therapeutic strategy for several biomedical applications. Following the observation that endogenous and exogenous H 2 S plays a prominent role as a bone anabolic agent, we recently developed a silk fibroin (SF) porous scaffold loaded with GYY4137 (GYY), an H 2 S donor, for applications in bone tissue engineering. Here, we assayed whether the combination of SF with H 2 S potentiates the osteoconductive properties of SF. Biocompatibility and osteoanabolic activity were assayed in vitro using human bone marrow mesenchymal stromal cells. Cell cultures were performed on a perfusion bioreactor to obtain results closer to the in vivo microenvironment. Cytotoxicity was excluded by lactate dehydrogenase and live/dead assays. Cell colonization and mineral apposition were evaluated by Haematoxylin & Eosin and Von Kossa/Alizarin Red-S stainings respectively. PCR array for human osteogenesis and immunohistochemical analyses were performed to identify pathways and targets involved. Our findings show that H 2 S-releasing SF scaffolds supported cell adhesion, proliferation and viability. Moreover, H 2 S activated genes and proteins involved in ossification, osteoblast differentiation, bone mineral metabolism and angiogenesis allowing a high and early mineralization. Based on these properties, we suggest the use of H 2 S-releasing SF scaffolds for bone healing and regeneration applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)471-482
Number of pages12
JournalMaterials Science and Engineering C
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2019


  • Bone tissue engineering
  • Hydrogen sulfide
  • Mesenchymal stromal cells
  • Osteogenesis
  • Scaffold
  • Silk fibroin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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