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PERIODONTICS Cite this article: Virlan MJR, Calenic B , Zaharia C , Greabu M. Silk fibroin and potential uses in regenerative Dental Medicine. Stoma Edu J. 2014;1(2): 108-115. SILK FIBROIN AND POTENTIAL USES IN REGENERATIVE DENTISTRY A SYSTEMATIC REVIEW Maria Justina Roxana Virlan1a, Bogdan Calenic1b, Catalin Zaharia 2c, Maria Greabu1d* 1. Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Dental Medicine, „Carol Davila” University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Bucharest, Romania 2. Advanced Polymer Materials Group, Faculty of Applied Chemistry and Materials Science, University Politehnica of Bucharest, Bucharest, Romania a.DDS, PhD Student b.DDS, PhD, Teaching Assistant c.PhD, Associate Professor d.PhD, Professor, Head of Department Abstract Silk fibroin is an organic polymer  isolated from cocoon silk fibers. Recently it has been studied as a substrate for tissue engineered cartilage, bone , ligaments, nerves, cornea  and also for drug delivery applications. The current review focuses on recent advance in silk fibroin and its potential uses in regeneration therapies, mainly in the dental field. Data extraction was carried out according to the standard Cochrane systematic review methodology and the following databases were used: PubMed, Google Scholar, Medline and the Google library. Out of the 151 related articles that were critically assessed, only 57 articles were included in the critical appraisal. There is evidence that silk fibroin is a biocompatible polymer and has been proved to be cytocompatible with a wide variety of cells. Composite silk fibroin with hydoxyapaptite, bioglass, gold or silica can be used in a variety of applications.  Regenerative dentistry may profit from the silk fibroin due to possible future uses in implant therapy, mineralized tissue formation or healing of the wounds of the buccal mucosa. Keywords: silk fibroin, organic polymer, bone regeneration, drug delivery, wound healing 1.Silk fibroin Received: 05 September 2014 Accepted: 18 September 2014 * Corresponding author: Professor Maria Greabu, PhD, Head of Department Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Dental Medicine, „Carol Davila” University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Bucharest, Romania 8 Blvd. Eroii Sanitari, Sector 5, RO-050474 Bucharest, Romania Tel: +40721274932, Fax: +4021 3110984. e-mail: mariagreabu@yahoo.com 108 Silk represents the strongest and toughest naturally occuring polymer material (1) . Silk from silkworms and orb-weaving spiders have impressive mechanical properties in addition to environmental stability, biocompatibility, controlled proteolytic biodegradability, morphological flexibility and the ability for the aminoacid side charge modification to immobilize growth factors (2). Silk fibroin is a structural protein isolated from cocoons silk fibers of the silkworm Bobymex mori (2, 3) and it has a long history of use in clinical applications as sutures (2). Recently it has also been studied as a substrate for tissue engineered cartilage, bone (4), (5), (6), ligaments and also for drug delivery applications (7), (8-10). 1.1.Silk fibroin in drug delivery vehicles A wide range of polymeric materials have been investigated for use as drug delivery matrices, including biodegradable synthetic polymers such as PLGA, and natural polymers like collagen (3). The addition of silk seemed to improve the controlled release proprieties. It was shown, that the more the crystalline content of silk increased ,the slower was the release of the encapsulated protein (7). Other strategies to fine-tune the release from silk fibroin matrices include the embedment of drug loaded micro- or nanoparticles or the coating of micro- or nanoparticles with silk fibroin films (11). Also silk coating of liposomes loaded with the anti-tumor drug Emodin significantly retarded drug release without affecting the drug efficacy (9). Moreover silk microspheres could offer unique options as drug delivery carriers,given the fact that silk microspheres are much smaller than PLGA microspheres (3). 1.2 Silk fibroin scaffolds Mimicking the natural extracellular matrix is one of the critical and challenging technological barriers, for which scaffold engineering has become a prime focus of research STOMA.EDUJ (2014) 1 (2)