Novel silk protein barrier membranes for guided bone regeneration

Ralf Smeets, Christine Knabe, Andreas Kolk, Michael Rheinnecker, Alexander Gröbe, Max Heiland, Rolf Zehbe, Manuela Sachse, Christian Große-Siestrup, Michael Wöltje, Henning Hanken

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


This study assesses the biocompatibility of novel silk protein membranes with and without modification, and evaluates their effect on facilitating bone formation and defect repair in guided bone regeneration. Two calvarian bone defects 12 mm in diameter were created in each of a total of 38 rabbits. Four different types of membranes, (silk-, hydroxyapatite-modified silk-, β-TCP-modified silk- and commonly clinically used collagen-membranes) were implanted to cover one of the two defects in each animal. Histologic analysis did not show any adverse tissue reactions in any of the defect sites indicating good biocompatibility of all silk protein membranes. Histomorphometric and histologic evaluation revealed that collagen and β-TCP modified silk membranes supported bone formation (collagen: bone area fraction p = 0.025; significant; β-TCP modified silk membranes bone area fraction: p = 0.24, not significant), guided bone regeneration and defect bridging. The bone, which had formed in defects covered by β-TCP modified silk membranes, displayed a more advanced stage of bone tissue maturation with restoration of the original calvarial bone microarchitecture when compared to the bone which had formed in defects, for which any of the other test membranes were used. Micro-CT analysis did not reveal any differences in the amount of bone formation between defects with and without membranes. In contrast to the collagen membranes, β-TCP modified silk membranes were visible in all cases and may therefore be advantageous for further supporting bone formation beyond 10 weeks and preventing soft tissue ingrowth from the periphery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2603-2611
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research - Part B Applied Biomaterials
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • alveolar ridge augmentation
  • bone defect
  • guided bone regeneration
  • membrane
  • silk


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