Researchers have developed a simple method for preparing 3D keratin scaffold models to use in tissue engineering.
The researchers, from the Mossakowski Medical Research Center of the Polish Academy of Science, have presented findings on the development of three-dimensional cell cultures derived from fibre keratin scaffolds from rat fur that can have clinical applications in tissue engineering.
The study was published in the journal Open Medicine.
Keratin shows promise for tissue engineering
Regenerating tissue after a burn, or after damage from diseases such as diabetes, can be a challenge. Regenerative medicine and tissue engineering require complementary key ingredients, such as biologically compatible scaffolds that can be easily adopted by the body system without harm, and suitable cells including various stem cells that effectively replace the damaged tissue without adverse consequences.
The paper states: ‘Several proteins such as: collagen, albumin, gelatin, fibroin and keratin have been investigated in the development of naturally derived biomaterials. Keratin-based materials characterized as less thermolabile proteins, with mechanical durability, intrinsic biocompatibility, biodegradability and natural abundance can be the most promising for revolutionizing the biomaterial world.’
The study suggests that both the use of appropriate digest enzymes and the fraction in length and diameter of the keratin fibres is significant. The cells demonstrated the ability to grow up and form the 3D colonies on rat F-KAP for several weeks without morphological changes of the cells and with no observed apoptosis.
The scaffold needs to mimic the structure and biological function of the native extracellular matrix at the side of injury for regeneration of tissues.
The regeneration of tissue at the site of injury or wounds caused by burns or diseases such as diabetes is a challenging task in the field of biomedical science. One author of the study, Piotr Kosson, PhD, said: “We believe that this absence of morphological changes in cells and the lack of apoptosis, in addition to the low immunogenicity and biodegradation of KAP scaffolds, indicates that they are promising candidates for tissue engineering in clinical applications.”