Jump to main content
Jump to site search
Access to RSC content Close the message box

Continue to access RSC content when you are not at your institution. Follow our step-by-step guide.

Issue 10, 2019
Previous Article Next Article

SilkBridge™: a novel biomimetic and biocompatible silk-based nerve conduit

Author affiliations


Silk fibroin (Bombyx mori) was used to manufacture a nerve conduit (SilkBridge™) characterized by a novel 3D architecture. The wall of the conduit consists of two electrospun layers (inner and outer) and one textile layer (middle), perfectly integrated at the structural and functional level. The manufacturing technology conferred high compression strength on the device, thus meeting clinical requirements for physiological and pathological compressive stresses. In vitro cell interaction studies were performed through direct contact assays with SilkBridge™ using the glial RT4-D6P2T cells, a schwannoma cell line, and a mouse motor neuron NSC-34 cell line. The results revealed that the material is capable of sustaining cell proliferation, that the glial RT4-D6P2T cells increased their density and organized themselves in a glial-like morphology, and that NSC-34 motor neurons exhibited a greater neuritic length with respect to the control substrate. In vivo pilot assays were performed on adult female Wistar rats. A 10 mm long gap in the median nerve was repaired with 12 mm SilkBridge™. At two weeks post-operation several cell types colonized the lumen. Cells and blood vessels were also visible between the different layers of the conduit wall. Moreover, the presence of regenerated myelinated fibers with a thin myelin sheath at the proximal level was observed. Taken together, all these results demonstrated that SilkBridge™ has an optimized balance of biomechanical and biological properties, being able to sustain a perfect cellular colonization of the conduit and the progressive growth of the regenerating nerve fibers.

Graphical abstract: SilkBridge™: a novel biomimetic and biocompatible silk-based nerve conduit

Back to tab navigation

Supplementary files

Article information

20 May 2019
05 Jul 2019
First published
30 Jul 2019

Biomater. Sci., 2019,7, 4112-4130
Article type

SilkBridge™: a novel biomimetic and biocompatible silk-based nerve conduit

A. Alessandrino, F. Fregnan, M. Biagiotti, L. Muratori, G. A. Bassani, G. Ronchi, V. Vincoli, P. Pierimarchi, S. Geuna and G. Freddi, Biomater. Sci., 2019, 7, 4112
DOI: 10.1039/C9BM00783K

Social activity

Search articles by author