Current progress and limitations of spider silk for biomedical applications

Authors

  • Mona Widhe,

    1. Department of Anatomy, Physiology and Biochemistry, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden
    2. Spiber Technologies AB. Doppingv 12, 756 51 Uppsala, Sweden
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  • Jan Johansson,

    1. Department of Anatomy, Physiology and Biochemistry, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden
    2. Department of Neurobiology, Care Science and Society, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
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  • My Hedhammar,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Anatomy, Physiology and Biochemistry, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden
    2. Department of Neurobiology, Care Science and Society, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
    • Department of Anatomy, Physiology and Biochemistry, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden
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  • Anna Rising

    1. Department of Anatomy, Physiology and Biochemistry, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden
    2. Spiber Technologies AB. Doppingv 12, 756 51 Uppsala, Sweden
    3. Department of Neurobiology, Care Science and Society, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
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  • This article was originally published online as an accepted preprint. The “Published Online” date corresponds to the preprint version. You can request a copy of the preprint by emailing the Biopolymers editorial office at biopolymers@wiley.com

Abstract

Spider silk is a fascinating material combining remarkable mechanical properties with low density and biodegradability. Because of these properties and historical descriptions of medical applications, spider silk has been proposed to be the ideal biomaterial. However, overcoming the obstacles to produce spider silk in sufficient quantities and in a manner that meets regulatory demands has proven to be a difficult task. Also, there are relatively few studies of spider silk in biomedical applications available, and the methods and materials used vary a lot. Herein we summarize cell culture- and in vivo implantation studies of natural and synthetic spider silk, and also review the current status and future challenges in the quest for a large scale production of spider silk for medical applications. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Biopolymers 97: 468–478, 2012.

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