Gel spinning of silk tubes for tissue engineering
Tubular vessels for tissue engineering are typically fabricated using a molding, dipping, or electrospinning technique. While these techniques provide some control over inner and outer diameters of the tube, they lack the ability to align the polymers or fibers of interest throughout the tube. This is an important aspect of biomaterial composite structure and function for mechanical and biological impact of tissue outcomes. We present a novel aqueous process system to spin tubes from biopolymers and proteins such as silk fibroin. Using silk as an example, this method of winding an aqueous solution around a reciprocating rotating mandrel offers substantial improvement in the control of the tube properties, specifically with regard to winding pattern, tube porosity, and composite features. Silk tube properties are further controlled via different post-spinning processing mechanisms such as methanol treatment, air-drying, and lyophilization. This approach to tubular scaffold manufacture offers numerous tissue engineering applications such as complex composite biomaterial matrices, blood vessel grafts and nerve guides, among others.
Journal: Biomaterials - Volume 29, Issue 35, December 2008, Pages 4650–4657