Gelatin modified ultrathin silk fibroin films for enhanced proliferation of cells

Luyuan Yang, Mohammed Yaseen, Xiubo Zhao, Paul Coffey, Fang Pan, Yuming Wang, Hai Xu, John Webster, Jian R. Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Silk fibroin (SF) films were modified with gelatin (G) to explore if such SF/G films could enhance the surface biocompatibility of silk as cell growth biomaterials. Ultrathin films were coated from aqueous SF solutions pre-mixed with different amounts of G. It was found that the SF/G blended films after methanol treatment were highly stable in physiological conditions. The incorporation of G smoothed the surface morphology of the SF/G films formed. Surface-exposed RGD sequences were successfully identified on the SF/G films through specific recognition of an integrin-mimicking peptide (bearing the sequence of CWDDGWLC). Cell culture experiments with 3T3 fibroblasts demonstrated that SF/G films with 1.2–20% (w/w) G gave clear improvement in promoting cell attachment and proliferation over pure SF films. Films containing 10–20% (w/w) of G showed cell attachment and growth even superior to the pure G films. The differences as observed from this study suggest that due to the lack of mechanical strength associated with its high solubility, G could not work alone as a cell growth scaffold. The enhanced cellular responses from the blended SF/G films must result from improvement in film stability arising from SF and in cytocompatibility arising from G. The results thus indicate the potential of the SF/G blends in tissue engineering and biomedical engineering where physical and biological properties could be manipulated via mixing either as bulk biomaterials or for coating purposes.
Original languageEnglish
Article number025003
JournalBiomedical Materials
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 18 Mar 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • polypeptides
  • biomedical materials
  • surface biocompatibility
  • biocompatible thin film


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