Silk scaffolds and magnetism to generate bone tissue and be able to use it in implants

August 05, 2020

The journal Materialia has recently published the outcome of a piece of research conducted by a group of researchers comprising several from the Department of Physical Chemistry at the UPV-EHU's Faculty of Science and Technology and BCMaterials, and others from centres at the University of Minho (Portugal). In this work the research group developed a new composite material that can be used for tissue engineering, specifically for regenerating bone tissue. "The ultimate goal of this line of research would be to be able to generate tissue that could then be implanted to treat bone diseases," said José Luis Vilas-Vilela, head of the UPV/EHU's Department of Physical Chemistry and one of the authors of this study.

The material developed comprises a scaffold or matrix which in turn is made up of one of the main components of silk (fibroin), a biocompatible material of natural origin, and which is loaded with magnetic nanoparticles. The purpose of adding the nanoparticles was to make the material "magnetoactive" so that they would respond when a magnetic field is applied to them and thus transmit mechanical and electrical stimuli to the cells. "The inserting of stimuli, which may be electrical, magnetic, mechanical or of another type, has been proven to encourage cell growth and differentiation, because this procedure in some way mimics the cellular microenvironment and imitates the stimuli that occur in the environment in which the cells carry out their functions," explained the researcher.

Positive in vitro study

This study was conducted in vitro, and two methodologies were tested to obtain the fibroin matrix: in one, films were created, and in the other, a kind of fabric was produced by interweaving the fibres. "These are two pretty good methodologies for building this scaffolding which simulates the extracellular matrix, the support to which the cells can attach themselves in order to grow," specified the researcher. The magnetoactive nanoparticles also form part of the structure as they have been incorporated into the fibroin. So when we apply a magnetic field, we bring about a response by these nanoparticles, which vibrate and thus deform the structure, they stretch it and transmit the mechanical stress to the cells," he said.

This PhD holder in chemistry says that the results have shown them that both types of matrix or scaffold "encourage cell growth; the film type works better, the cells grow better, but more than anything, we have confirmed, for the first time, that the magnetic stimulus exerts a positive effect on cell growth".

This has signified a step forward in the line of research of this research group in the quest for suitable materials and methods for tissue fabrication. "We know that our aim is a long-term one and now we are taking the first steps. We are developing various types of materials, stimuli and processes so that we can have the means to achieve the regeneration of different tissue. In addition, the idea would be to use the stem cells of the patients themselves and be capable of differentiating them towards the type of cell we want to form the tissue with, be it bone, muscle, heart or whatever might be needed. That would be the ultimate goal towards which we are already taking significant steps," he said.

To achieve that ultimate goal, this research group needs to meet various challenges. The most immediate ones would be, according to the expert, "to combine various stimuli and insert a variation into the ones already applied, such as the direction in which the deformation of the structure used is applied. We also need to explore cell viability and functionality, how the cells are fed and how the waste they produce is extracted. There are many factors where progress needs to be made, but what has been achieved is spurring us on to continue", he concluded.

University of the Basque Country

Related Nanoparticles Articles from Brightsurf:

An ionic forcefield for nanoparticles
Nanoparticles are promising drug delivery tools but they struggle to get past the immune system's first line of defense: proteins in the blood serum that tag potential invaders.

Phytoplankton disturbed by nanoparticles
Products derived from nanotechnology are efficient and highly sought-after, yet their effects on the environment are still poorly understood.

How to get more cancer-fighting nanoparticles to where they are needed
University of Toronto Engineering researchers have discovered a dose threshold that greatly increases the delivery of cancer-fighting drugs into a tumour.

Nanoparticles: Acidic alert
Researchers of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich have synthesized nanoparticles that can be induced by a change in pH to release a deadly dose of ionized iron within cells.

3D reconstructions of individual nanoparticles
Want to find out how to design and build materials atom by atom?

Directing nanoparticles straight to tumors
Modern anticancer therapies aim to attack tumor cells while sparing healthy tissue.

Sweet nanoparticles trick kidney
Researchers engineer tiny particles with sugar molecules to prevent side effect in cancer therapy.

A megalibrary of nanoparticles
Using straightforward chemistry and a mix-and-match, modular strategy, researchers have developed a simple approach that could produce over 65,000 different types of complex nanoparticles.

Dialing up the heat on nanoparticles
Rapid progress in the field of metallic nanotechnology is sparking a science revolution that is likely to impact all areas of society, according to professor of physics Ventsislav Valev and his team at the University of Bath in the UK.

Illuminating the world of nanoparticles
Scientists at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) have developed a light-based device that can act as a biosensor, detecting biological substances in materials; for example, harmful pathogens in food samples.

Read More: Nanoparticles News and Nanoparticles Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to