Advances in Nanotechnologies for the Fabrication of Silk Fibroin-Based Scaffolds for Tissue Regeneration

  • Nicolò Nicoli Aldini
  • Milena Fini
Part of the Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine book series (STEMCELL)


Silks are protein fibers produced by silkworms whose architecture is based on two proteins: fibroin and sericin. Because sericin has been recognized as the main cause of silk’s poor performance due to its antigenicity, fibroin alone has now remained popular as a biomaterial, also due to its strength and mechanical properties. Other advantages of this biological product are the water-based processing, biodegradability, and the presence of easily accessible chemical groups for functional modifications. Due to its versatility, fibroin is now widely considered for use in the manufacture of many biological devices and substitutes in different medical fields, with very different biological, physiological, and mechanical properties. In recent years, nanomaterials have gained considerable attention also in tissue engineering, because they exhibit properties that are significantly different to corresponding bulk materials, such as large surface area, increased strength, and enhanced surface reactivity, thus improving material performance. Reviewed studies, mainly in the regeneration of the musculoskeletal system, have been outlined the advantages of fibroin as a scaffold, and the technologies adopted for the nanostructure development of this protein. Further advancements will open up new perspectives in the use of this product in tissue regeneration. Silk-based materials are of particular interest where controlled biodegradation and good mechanical properties are required, such as in tissue engineering of musculoskeletal tissues. Their versatility in processing, biocompatibility properties, ease of sterilization, thermal stability, possibility for surface chemical modifications, and controllable degradation therefore make silk-derived proteins promising biomaterials for many clinical functions. Since research into these applications is quite new, we can expect interesting future developments, in which the nanotechnologies might play a decisive role.


Silk fibroin Nanotechnologies Nanomaterials Biomaterials Biocompatibility Composite materials Preclinical studies Hard tissues In vitro study In vivo study 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Preclinical and Surgical StudiesRizzoli Orthopedic InstituteBolognaItaly
  2. 2.Laboratory of Biocompatibility, Innovative Technologies and Advanced TherapiesRizzoli RIT DepartmentBolognaItaly

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