Silk Biomaterials Produced from 3D Bone Marrow Generate Platelets
Reported by: Irina Robu, PhD
The team used silk protein scaffolds that silk is a very biocompatible material that is amenable to many manipulations to customize it for a specific use, while also avoiding any cell-specific signaling. They formed silk scaffolds with thickness ranging from 2 to 5 micrometers and stiffness combined with growth factors, to test the success of megakaryocyte adhesion and the formation of pro-platelets—the parts of the megakaryocytes that fragment into platelets. After determining the best combination of scaffolds with appropriate thickness and stiffness, the researchers attached the silk scaffolds to a plastic framework to guide the growth of cells. The next step is to grow endothelial primary cells on one side of the silk scaffold and megakaryocytes on the other side, partly because endothelial primary cells are known to secrete growth factors that help megakaryocytes mature.
In order to mimic the microvasculature and environment, the researchers form silk sponges around the porous microtubes. The culture media with necessary nutrients is being pumped to mimic the flow of blood which leads to higher numbers of platelets generated than was previously possible; and most importantly, the platelets were functional.This is the first time researchers were able to create the complete micro environment where platelets are formed.