Characterization and evaluation of silk protein hydrogels for drug delivery

Jia You Fang*, Jyh Ping Chen, Yann Lii Leu, Hsin Yuan Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

51 Scopus citations


The objective of this study was to characterize and evaluate the physicochemical properties and drug release profiles of hydrogels composed of silk protein (SP) polymers. SPs with a low MW (SPL, ca. 18 kDa) and a high MW (SPH, ca. 76 kDa) were used for preparing hydrogels. Both the random coil form and β-sheet conformation simultaneously existed in the hydrogels according to Fourier-transformed IR determination. Morphologically, the hydrogels showed a sponge-like cross-linked structure produced by physical entanglement as well as chemical hydrogen and covalent bindings. The in vitro buprenorphine delivery from SPH hydrogels showed a slow-release effect, and a zero-order rate was obtained for all preparations. Drug release could be controlled by varying the SPH concentrations or incorporation of SPL into the systems. SP hydrogels showed a stronger barrier property for hydrophilic solutes than for hydrophobic solutes. The incorporation of SPH into Pluronic F-127 (PF-127) hydrogels changed the gel structure from amorphous micelles to a regularly interconnected texture with pores. Furthermore, SPH as an adjuvant polymer in PF-127 and chitosan hydrogels lowered and controlled the amount of drug released from those systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)156-162
Number of pages7
JournalChemical and Pharmaceutical Bulletin
Issue number2
StatePublished - 02 2006


  • Buprenorphine
  • Controlled release
  • Drug delivery
  • Hydrogel
  • Silk protein polymer


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