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    Keratin extracted from wool fibers has recently gained attention as an abundant source of renewable, biocompatible material for tissue engineering and drug delivery applications. However, keratin extraction and processing generally require a copious use of chemicals, not only bearing consequences for the environment but also possibly compromising the envisioned biological outcome. In this study, we present, for the first time, keratin-PVP biocomposite fibers obtained via an all-water co-electrospinning process and explored their properties modulation as a result of different thermal crosslinking treatments. The protein-based fibers featured homogenous morphologies and average diameters in the range of 170-290 nm. The thermomechanical stability and response to a wet environment can be tuned by acting on the curing time; this can be achieved without affecting the 3D fibrous network nor the intrinsic hydrophilic behavior of the material. More interestingly, our protein-based membranes treated at 170 °C for 18 h successfully sustained the attachment and growth of primary human dermal fibroblasts, a cellular model which can recapitulate more faithfully the physiological human tissue conditions. Our proposed approach can be viewed as pivotal in designing tunable protein-based scaffolds for the next generation of skin tissue growth devices. Copyright © 2020 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


    Giulia Suarato, Marco Contardi, Giovanni Perotto, Jose' A Heredia-Guerrero, Fabrizio Fiorentini, Luca Ceseracciu, Cataldo Pignatelli, Doriana Debellis, Rosalia Bertorelli, Athanassia Athanassiou. From fabric to tissue: Recovered wool keratin/polyvinylpyrrolidone biocomposite fibers as artificial scaffold platform. Materials science & engineering. C, Materials for biological applications. 2020 Nov;116:111151

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    PMID: 32806258

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