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BioMed Research International
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 4263762, 16 pages
Research Article

Investigate the Effect of Thawing Process on the Self-Assembly of Silk Protein for Tissue Applications

1Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Laboratory, Department of Biomedical Engineering, International University-Vietnam National University-Ho Chi Minh City (VNU-HCM), Ho Chi Minh City 700000, Vietnam
2Institute of Applied Materials Science, Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology, Ho Chi Minh City 70000, Vietnam

Correspondence should be addressed to Hiep Thi Nguyen and Hien Thu Luong

Received 1 October 2016; Revised 16 December 2016; Accepted 26 December 2016; Published 7 March 2017

Academic Editor: Jeroen Rouwkema

Copyright © 2017 Hiep Thi Nguyen et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Biological self-assembly is a process in which building blocks autonomously organize to form stable supermolecules of higher order and complexity through domination of weak, noncovalent interactions. For silk protein, the effect of high incubating temperature on the induction of secondary structure and self-assembly was well investigated. However, the effect of freezing and thawing on silk solution has not been studied. The present work aimed to investigate a new all-aqueous process to form 3D porous silk fibroin matrices using a freezing-assisted self-assembly method. This study proposes an experimental investigation and optimization of environmental parameters for the self-assembly process such as freezing temperature, thawing process, and concentration of silk solution. The optical images demonstrated the possibility and potential of −80ST48 treatment to initialize the self-assembly of silk fibroin as well as controllably fabricate a porous scaffold. Moreover, the micrograph images illustrate the assembly of silk protein chain in 7 days under the treatment of −80ST48 process. The surface morphology characterization proved that this method could control the pore size of porous scaffolds by control of the concentration of silk solution. The animal test showed the support of silk scaffold for cell adhesion and proliferation, as well as the cell migration process in the 3D implantable scaffold.