The healing of confined critical size cancellous defects in the presence of silk fibroin hydrogel

M. Fini, A. Motta, P. Torricelli, G. Giavaresi, N. Nicoli Aldini, M. Tschon, R. Giardino, C. Migliaresi

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In vitro and in vivo behaviour of an injectable silk fibroin (SF) hydrogel was studied through osteoblast cultures and after implantation in critical-size defects of rabbit distal femurs. A commercial synthetic poly(d,l lactide-glycolide) copolymer was used as control material. In vitro biocompatibility was evaluated by measuring LDH release, cell proliferation (WST1), differentiation (ALP, OC), and synthetic activity (collagen I, TGF β1, IL-6). Bone defect healing rate and quality of the newly formed bone inside the defects were determined in vivo by measuring trabecular bone volume (BV/TV), trabecular thickness (Tb.Th), trabecular number (Tb.N), trabecular separation (Tb.Sp), mineral apposition rate (MAR) and bone formation rate (BFR/B.Pm). In vitro tests indicated that both materials significantly increased cell proliferation in comparison with the negative control. A significant increase in the TGF-β1 level was found for SF hydrogel in comparison with the control material and negative control. Both materials promoted bone healing when used to fill critical size defects in rabbit femurs. The new-formed bone of the SF hydrogel treated defects showed significantly higher BV/TV, Tb.Th, MAR and BFR/B.Pm and lower Tb.Sp values in comparison with the control gel. At 12 weeks the re-grown bone of the SF hydrogel-treated defects appeared more similar to normal bone than that of the control synthetic polymeric material-treated defects, except for the Tb.N value that differed significantly from that of normal bone (p

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3527-3536
Number of pages10
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2005


  • Animal model
  • Biocompatibility
  • Hydrogel
  • Osteoblast
  • Silk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering


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