Sericin removal from raw Bombyx mori silk scaffolds of high hierarchical order

Andreas Herbert Teuschl*, Martijn van Griensven, Heinz Redl

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Silk fibroin has previously been described as a promising candidate for ligament tissue engineering (TE) approaches. For biocompatibility reasons, silkworm silk requires removal of sericin, which can elicit adverse immune responses in the human body. One disadvantage of the required degumming process is the alteration of the silk fiber structural properties, which can hinder textile engineering of high order hierarchical structures. Therefore, the aim of this study was to find a way to remove sericin from a compact and highly ordered raw silk fiber matrix. The wire rope design of the test model scaffold comprises several levels of geometric hierarchy. Commonly used degumming solutions fail in removing sericin in this wire rope design. Weight loss measurements, picric acid and carmine staining as well as scanning electron microscopy demonstrated that the removal of sericin from the model scaffold of a wire rope design can be achieved through a borate buffer-based system. Furthermore, the borate buffer degummed silks were shown to be nontoxic and did not alter cell proliferation behavior. The possibility to remove sericin after the textile engineering process has taken place eases the production of highly ordered scaffold structures and may expand the use of silk as scaffold material in further TE and regenerative medicine applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)431-9
Number of pages9
JournalTissue Engineering. Part C. Methods
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Animals
  • Bombyx/chemistry
  • Buffers
  • Carmine/metabolism
  • Cell Death/drug effects
  • Cell Proliferation/drug effects
  • Cell Survival/drug effects
  • Fibroblasts/cytology
  • Humans
  • Molecular Weight
  • Picrates/metabolism
  • Sericins/isolation & purification
  • Staining and Labeling
  • Stromal Cells/cytology
  • Tensile Strength/drug effects
  • Tissue Scaffolds/chemistry

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