Why Use Silk for a Biological Wound Dressing?
By MedTech Outlook | Friday, November 30, 2018
However small or big a wound is, care has to be taken to prevent the further damages harming one's health. Wound dressing is a process involving materials such as plasters, bandages, cotton, and spirit that protects the wound and promotes healing. Wound dressings are of two types: passive dressings and interactive dressings. Passive dressings are the usual wound dressings like bandages that protect the wound from external factors. Interactive dressings interact with the injury and provide exposure to the moisture, oxygen circulation that promotes wound healing. Interactive wound dressings include hydrogels that are made from bioactive materials and the medicated dressings.
Bioactive wound dressings are synthesized from biological materials such as collagen, alginate, silk fibroin, and elastin. These dressings are chosen for their biodegradability, biocompatibility, and non-toxic nature. Polymers of these biological materials are used to synthesize wound dressings and have unique properties that promote the process of wound healing. Bioactive wound care dressings include tissue-engineered products that are extracted from artificial sources or natural tissues.
Silk fibroin(SF) obtained from Bombyx mori silkworm has gained vital importance for producing bioactive wound dressing. Silk is a protein polymer that can be extracted from the glands of arthropods such as silkworms, spiders, and bees. Silk is composed of two major proteins: SF and sericin—sericin is a protein like glue which wraps around SF and SF has a diameter of 10-25µm and consists of a light chain and heavy chain linked with a disulphide bond. Silk Fibroin Nanofiber Wound Dressing is made of nanofibers prepared from SF polymers that range from micrometers to nanometers in size.
Researchers performed experiments for the effectiveness of SF wound dressings on many wounds which improved results. The main observation was that antimicrobial loading agent onto SF nanofibers can prevent infection on the site of injury. SF based hydrogels can be used for burns, and diabetic wounds as SF mats improve the process of burn healing.
Though SF has great benefits, it is not approved as artificial skin. Furthermore, the research work has to improve SF-based dressings which will overcome the fear of tissue formation. As new sources of silk proteins from spiders are made available, and with the help of genetic engineering and modification of natural silk sequence chemistries, the range of bioactive materials can be generated and utilized for better treatment of humans.