Enhanced cell adhesion on silk fibroin via lectin surface modification

Andreas H Teuschl*, Lukas Neutsch, Xavier Monforte, Dominik Rünzler, Martijn van Griensven, Franz Gabor, Heinz Redl

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Various tissue engineering (TE) approaches are based on silk fibroin (SF) as scaffold material because of its superior mechanical and biological properties compared to other materials. The translation of one-step TE approaches to clinical application has generally failed so far due to the requirement of a prolonged cell seeding step before implantation. Here, we propose that the plant lectin WGA (wheat germ agglutinin), covalently bound to SF, will mediate cell adhesion in a time frame acceptable to be part of a one-step surgical intervention. After the establishment of a modification protocol utilizing carbodiimide chemistry, we examined the attachment of cells, with a special focus on adipose-derived stromal cells (ASC), on WGA-SF compared to pure native SF. After a limited time frame of 20min the attachment of ASCs to WGA-SF showed an increase of about 17-fold, as compared to pure native SF. The lectin-mediated cell adhesion further showed an enhanced resistance to trypsin (as a protease model) and to applied fluid shear stress (mechanical stability). Moreover, we could demonstrate that the adhesion of ASCs on the WGA-SF does not negatively influence proliferation or differentiation potential into the osteogenic lineage. To test for in vitro immune response, the proliferation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells in contact with the WGA-SF was determined, showing no alterations compared to plain SF. All these findings suggest that the WGA modification of SF offers important benefits for translation of SF scaffolds into clinical applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2506-17
Number of pages12
JournalActa Biomaterialia
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Cell Adhesion
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Fibroins
  • Humans
  • Lectins/chemistry
  • Silk
  • Surface Properties

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