Development of bilayered porous silk scaffolds for thymus bioengineering

last updated: 2023-05-09
ProjectHEALTH UNORTE :: publications list
TitleDevelopment of bilayered porous silk scaffolds for thymus bioengineering
Publication TypePapers in Scientific Journals
Year of Publication2023
AuthorsSilva C. S., Kundu B., Gomes J. M., Fernandes E. M., Reis R. L., Kundu S. C., Martins A., and Neves N. M.

The thymus coordinates the development and selection of T cells. It is structured into two main compartments: the cortex and the medulla. The replication of such complex 3D environment has been challenged by bioengineering approaches. Nevertheless, the effect of the scaffold microstructure on thymic epithelial cell (TEC) cultures has not been deeply investigated. Here, we developed bilayered porous silk fibroin scaffolds and tested their effect on TEC co-cultures. The small and large pore scaffolds presented a mean pore size of 84.33 ± 21.51 μm and 194.90 ± 61.38 μm, respectively. The highly porous bilayered scaffolds presented a high water absorption and water content (> 94 %), together with mechanical properties in the range of the native tissue. TEC (i.e., medullary (mTEC) and cortical (cTEC) cell lines) proliferation is increased in scaffolds with larger pores. The co-culture of both TEC lines in the bilayered porous silk scaffolds presents enhanced cell proliferation and metabolic activity when compared with mTEC in single culture. Also, when the co-culture occurred with cTEC in the small pores layer and mTEC in the large pores layer, a 9.2- and 18.9-fold increase in Foxn1 and Icam1 gene expression in cTEC is evident. These results suggest that scaffold microstructure and the co-culture influence TEC's behaviour. Bilayered silk scaffolds with adjusted microstructure are a valid alternative for TEC culture, having possible applications in advanced thymus bioengineering strategies.

JournalBiomaterials Advances
Date Published2023-04-03
Keywordsbilayered scaffolds, Microarchitecture, Silk Fibroin, thymic epithelial cells, thymus bioengineering
Peer reviewedyes

Back to top