Spider Silk Protein May Be Useful For Engineering Artificial Cardiac Tissue
Start writing a post
Health and Wellness

Spider Silk Protein May Be Useful For Engineering Artificial Cardiac Tissue

According to the American Heart Association, Heart Disease remains to be the Number 1 cause of death in the US.

241
Spider Silk Protein May Be Useful For Engineering Artificial Cardiac Tissue

According to the American Heart Association, Heart Disease remains to be the Number 1 cause of death in the US. The main cause of decreased cardiac functionality lies in the detrimental loss of cardiac muscle cells due to disease, especially ischemic diseases such as cardiac infarction. An estimated 610,000 loved ones die every year -- or rather 1 in 4 deaths is heart disease related.

There is no cure for cardiac infarction, and the body cannot heal it's self from this. During human development, cardiac myocytes (heart muscle) are made by progenitor stem cells and proliferate to develop the heart. Once the development of the human heart is complete the immature cardiac myocytes transform into mature cells that cannot reproduce anymore.

What this means is that -- it won't grow back or heal like a broken bone or nail. So make sure you take really good care of it!

However, there is good news with all this -- there are a vast amount of medical research institutions performing research today to find a cure or effective treatment. One of them is cardiac muscle tissue from spider silk. Researchers at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg and their colleagues at the University of Bayreuth investigated whether an artificial silk protein developed in the laboratory could be suitable for engineering cardiac tissue. They have published their results in the journal Advanced Functional Materials.

Apart from the fact that spiders can be a fright for some people, their silk is pretty amazing. It's been compared to or deemed stronger than high-grade steel. The silk from Darwin’s Bark Spider, for example, is known to be the strongest natural fiber on Earth at six times stronger than steel per weight.Spider silk is actually made of protein, and is partly edible! Now don’t go eating it like cotton candy. In order to maintain their energy, and conserve silk levels, some spiders ingest their own silk.

Silk could be the key to artificial cardiac tissue. Or, to be more accurate, the protein that gives the silk its structure and mechanical tensile stability: fibroin. Professor Felix Engel of the Department of Nephropathology at Universitätsklinikum Erlangen had examined the physical properties of silk from the Indian silkworm and demonstrated its particular suitability as scaffolding material for engineering cardiac tissue. (Until now producing the protein in sufficient quantities and at a consistent quality had been impossible because, you cannot farm spiders. Eventually they become violent and cannibalistic.)

His colleague, Professor Dr. Thomas Scheibel, holder of the Chair for Biomaterials at the University of Bayreuth, had successfully produced a recombinant silk protein from garden spiders in the required larger quantities and of a consistent quality with the help of E. coli bacteria. This led the two researchers to join forces and further investigate the silk proteins of garden spiders.

The research involved applying a thin layer of the silk protein to a glass microscope slide. The technique is based on the fact that cells with a negatively charged surface adhere to films made of a certain silk protein called eADF4(κ16) due to its positive charge. In addition to cardiac cells, researchers attempted to apply other cells, such as connective tissue cells and blood vessel cells, to the film, and were successful each time.

The researchers focused primarily on how the cardiac cells functioned in what would be a normal state, and compared those cells to the cells that were adhered to the film. The results came out to be that --- there was no functionality difference between the two.


Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Adulting

Unlocking Lake People's Secrets: 15 Must-Knows!

There's no other place you'd rather be in the summer.

935346
Group of joyful friends sitting in a boat
Haley Harvey

The people that spend their summers at the lake are a unique group of people.

Whether you grew up going to the lake, have only recently started going, or have only been once or twice, you know it takes a certain kind of person to be a lake person. To the long-time lake people, the lake holds a special place in your heart, no matter how dirty the water may look.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

Top 10 Reasons My School Rocks!

Why I Chose a Small School Over a Big University.

112078
man in black long sleeve shirt and black pants walking on white concrete pathway

I was asked so many times why I wanted to go to a small school when a big university is so much better. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure a big university is great but I absolutely love going to a small school. I know that I miss out on big sporting events and having people actually know where it is. I can't even count how many times I've been asked where it is and I know they won't know so I just say "somewhere in the middle of Wisconsin." But, I get to know most people at my school and I know my professors very well. Not to mention, being able to walk to the other side of campus in 5 minutes at a casual walking pace. I am so happy I made the decision to go to school where I did. I love my school and these are just a few reasons why.

Keep Reading...Show less
Lots of people sat on the cinema wearing 3D glasses
Pinterest

Ever wonder what your friend meant when they started babbling about you taking their stapler? Or how whenever you ask your friend for a favor they respond with "As You Wish?" Are you looking for new and creative ways to insult your friends?

Well, look no further. Here is a list of 70 of the most quotable movies of all time. Here you will find answers to your questions along with a multitude of other things such as; new insults for your friends, interesting characters, fantastic story lines, and of course quotes to log into your mind for future use.

Keep Reading...Show less
New Year Resolutions

It's 2024! You drank champagne, you wore funny glasses, and you watched the ball drop as you sang the night away with your best friends and family. What comes next you may ask? Sadly you will have to return to the real world full of work and school and paying bills. "Ah! But I have my New Year's Resolutions!"- you may say. But most of them are 100% complete cliches that you won't hold on to. Here is a list of those things you hear all around the world.

Keep Reading...Show less
Lifestyle

The Ultimate Birthday: Unveiling the Perfect Day to Celebrate!

Let's be real, the day your birthday falls on could really make or break it.

67943
​different color birthday candles on a cake
Blacksburg Children's Museum

You heard it here first: birthdays in college are some of the best days of your four years. For one day annually, you get to forget about your identity as a stressed, broke, and overworked student, and take the time to celebrate. You can throw your responsibilities for a day, use your one skip in that class you hate, receive kind cards and gifts from loved ones and just enjoy yourself.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments