Silk fibroin photo-lyogels containing microchannels as a biomaterial platform for in situ tissue engineering†
The biophysical properties of biomaterials are key to directing the biological responses and biomaterial integration and function in in situ tissue engineering approaches. We present silk photo-lyogels, a biomaterial format fabricated using a new combinatorial approach involving photo-initiated crosslinking of silk fibroin via di-tyrosine bonds followed by lyophilization to generate 3D, porous lyogels showing physical properties distinct to those of lyophilized silk sponges or silk hydrogels. This fabrication approach allowed introduction of microchannels into 3D constructs via biofabrication approaches involving silk crosslinking around an array of 3D printed photocurable resin pillars to generate parallel channels or around a 3D printed sacrificial thermosensitive gel to generate interconnected channels in a rapid manner and without the need for chemical modification of silk fibroin. The presence of interconnected microchannels significantly improved migration of endothelial cells into 3D photo-lyogels in vitro, and tissue infiltration, photo-lyogel integration, and vascularization when implanted in vivo in a mouse subcutaneous model. Taken together, these findings demonstrate the feasibility and utility of a new combinatorial fabrication approach for generation of silk biomaterials that support cell interactions and implant integration for in situ tissue engineering approaches.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Biomaterials Science Emerging Investigators 2021