Optimization of silk fibroin membranes for retinal implantation

Shuko Suzuki, Audra M.A. Shadforth, Samuel McLenachan, Dan Zhang, Shang Chih Chen, Jennifer Walshe, Grace E. Lidgerwood, Alice Pébay, Traian V. Chirila, Fred K. Chen, Damien G. Harkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Silk fibroin membrane displays potential for ocular tissue reconstruction as demonstrated by its ability to support a functioning retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) in vitro. Nevertheless, translation of these findings to the clinic will require the use of membranes that can be readily handled and implanted into diseased retinas, with minimal impact on the surrounding healthy tissue. To this end, we optimized the physical properties of fibroin membranes to enable surgical handling during implantation into the retina, without compromising biocompatibility or permeability. Our central hypothesis is that optimal strength and permeability can be achieved by combining the porogenic properties of poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) with the crosslinking properties of horseradish peroxidase (HRP). Our study reveals that PEG used in conjunction with HRP enables the production of fibroin membranes with superior handling properties to conventional fibroin membranes. More specifically, the modified membranes could be more easily implanted into the retinas of rats and displayed good evidence of biocompatibility. Moreover, the modified membranes retained the ability to support construction of functional RPE derived from pluripotent stem cells. These findings pave the way for preclinical studies of RPE-implantation using the optimized fibroin membranes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110131
JournalMaterials Science and Engineering C
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019


Dive into the research topics of 'Optimization of silk fibroin membranes for retinal implantation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this