Biomedical applications of silk and its role for intervertebral disc repair

Croft, Andreas S; Spessot, Eugenia; Bhattacharjee, Promita; Yang, Yuejiao; Motta, Antonella; Wöltje, Michael; Gantenbein, Benjamin (2022). Biomedical applications of silk and its role for intervertebral disc repair. JOR Spine, 5(4) Wiley 10.1002/jsp2.1225

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Abstract Intervertebral disc (IVD) degeneration (IDD) is the main contributor to chronic low back pain. To date, the present therapies mainly focus on treating the symptoms caused by IDD rather than addressing the problem itself. For this reason, researchers have searched for a suitable biomaterial to repair and/or regenerate the IVD. A promising candidate to fill this gap is silk, which has already been used as a biomaterial for many years. Therefore, this review aims first to elaborate on the different origins from which silk is harvested, the individual composition, and the characteristics of each silk type. Another goal is to enlighten why silk is so suitable as a biomaterial, discuss its functionalization, and how it could be used for tissue engineering purposes. The second part of this review aims to provide an overview of preclinical studies using silk-based biomaterials to repair the inner region of the IVD, the nucleus pulposus (NP), and the IVD's outer area, the annulus fibrosus (AF). Since the NP and the AF differ fundamentally in their structure, different therapeutic approaches are required. Consequently, silk-containing hydrogels have been used mainly to repair the NP, and silk-based scaffolds have been used for the AF. Although most preclinical studies have shown promising results in IVD-related repair and regeneration, their clinical transition is yet to come.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Review Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Orthopaedic, Plastic and Hand Surgery (DOPH) > Clinic of Orthopaedic Surgery

Graduate School:

Graduate School for Cellular and Biomedical Sciences (GCB)

UniBE Contributor:

Croft, Andreas Shaun, Gantenbein, Benjamin


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health








Benjamin Gantenbein

Date Deposited:

09 Dec 2022 16:44

Last Modified:

30 Dec 2022 00:15

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Bombyx mori, degeneration, functionalization, intervertebral disc, low back pain, regeneration, repair, silk, stem cells




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