Steins A, Dik P, Müller WH, Vervoort SJ, Reimers K, Kuhbier JW, Vogt PM, van Apeldoorn AA, Coffer PJ, Schepers K.
PLoS One - 2015
Reconstruction of the bladder by means of both natural and synthetic materials remains a challenge due to severe adverse effects such as mechanical failure. Here we investigate the application of spider major ampullate gland-derived dragline silk from the Nephila edulis spider, a natural biomaterial with outstanding mechanical properties and a slow degradation rate, as a potential scaffold for bladder reconstruction by studying the cellular response of primary bladder cells to this biomaterial. We demonstrate that spider silk without any additional biological coating supports adhesion and growth of primary human urothelial cells (HUCs), which are multipotent bladder cells able to differentiate into the various epithelial layers of the bladder. HUCs cultured on spider silk did not show significant changes in the expression of various epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition and fibrosis associated genes, and demonstrated only slight reduction in the expression of adhesion and cellular differentiation genes. Furthermore, flow cytometric analysis showed that most of the silk-exposed HUCs maintain an undifferentiated immunophenotype. These results demonstrate that spider silk from the Nephila edulis spider supports adhesion, survival and growth of HUCs without significantly altering their cellular properties making this type of material a suitable candidate for being tested in pre-clinical models for bladder reconstruction.