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1.  Preliminary Characterization of Genipin-Cross-Linked Silk Sericin/Poly(vinyl alcohol) Films as Two-Dimensional Wound Dressings for the Healing of Superficial Wounds 
BioMed Research International  2013;2013:904314.
The genipin-cross-linked silk sericin/poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) films were developed aiming to be applied as two-dimensional wound dressings for the treatment of superficial wounds. The effects of genipin cross-linking concentration on the physical and biological properties of the films were investigated. The genipin-cross-linked silk sericin/PVA films showed the increased surface density, tensile strength, and percentage of elongation, but decreased percentage of light transmission, water vapor transmission rate, and water swelling, compared to the non-cross-linked films. This explained that the cross-linking bonds between genipin and silk sericin would reduce the mobility of molecular chains within the films, resulting in the more rigid molecular structure. Silk sericin was released from the genipin-cross-linked films in a sustained manner. In addition, either L929 mouse fibroblast or HaCat keratinocyte cells showed high percentage of viability when cultured on the silk sericin/PVA films cross-linked with 0.075 and 0.1% w/v genipin. The in vivo safety test performed according to ISO 10993-6 confirmed that the genipin-cross-linked silk sericin/PVA films were safe for the medical usages. The efficacy of the films for the treatment of superficial skin wounds will be further investigated in vivo and clinically. The genipin-cross-linked silk sericin/PVA films would be promising choices of two-dimensional wound dressings for the treatment of superficial wounds.
doi:10.1155/2013/904314
PMCID: PMC3784068  PMID: 24106722
2.  Sericin cream reduces pruritus in hemodialysis patients: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled experimental study 
BMC Nephrology  2012;13:119.
Background
Uremic pruritus (UP) is a significant complication in ESRD patients and substantially impairs their quality of life. UP is considered to be a skin manifestation of chronic inflammation. Because sericin can suppress the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, the purpose of this study was to investigate the short-term safety and efficacy of sericin cream for treating UP in hemodialysis patients.
Methods
This study used a double-blind design to investigate the effects of random topical administration of sericin cream and cream base (placebo) on either the right or left extremities of hemodialysis patients for 6 weeks. Skin hydration, irritation and pigmentation were evaluated every 2 weeks using Skin Diagnostic SD27. The visual analog scale for itching was also evaluated every 2 weeks, and the Kidney Disease Quality of Life Short Form was performed on the day of each patient’s enrollment and after 6 weeks of treatment.
Results
Fifty dialysis patients were enrolled, 47 of which completed the study. The hydration of the skin of the patients’ extremities increased significantly after administration of sericin cream; significant differences were found between sericin treatment and control after 6 weeks of treatment (p = 0.041 for arms and p = 0.022 for legs, respectively). Moreover, a significant difference was also found in skin irritation between the two treatments (p = 0.013 for arms and p = 0.027 for legs, respectively). At the end of the study, the skin pigmentation level was significantly reduced on both the arms (p = 0.032) and legs (p = 0.021) of the sericin-treated side compared with the side treated with cream base. The mean itching score decreased significantly from moderate to severe at the time of enrollment to mild pruritus after 6 weeks of treatment (p = 0.002). A better quality of life was found in all domains tested although statistically significant differences before and after treatment was found only in the patients’ pain scores, the effect of kidney disease on daily life, sleep quality and symptoms or problems related to kidney disease.
Conclusions
We conclude that sericin cream has a high potential for reducing UP in hemodialysis patients.
The trial registration number of this study is ISRCTN16019033; its public title is “sericin cream reduces pruritus in hemodialysis patients”.
doi:10.1186/1471-2369-13-119
PMCID: PMC3472272  PMID: 23006933
Pruritus; Hemodialysis; Sericin; Hydration; Inflammation; Pigmentation
3.  The Effect of Sterilization Methods on the Physical Properties of Silk Sericin Scaffolds 
AAPS PharmSciTech  2011;12(2):771-781.
Protein-based biomaterials respond differently to sterilization methods. Since protein is a complex structure, heat, or irradiation may result in the loss of its physical or biological properties. Recent investigations have shown that sericin, a degumming silk protein, can be successfully formed into a 3-D scaffolds after mixing with other polymers which can be applied in skin tissue engineering. The objective of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of ethanol, ethylene oxide (EtO) and gamma irradiation on the sterilization of sericin scaffolds. The influence of these sterilization methods on the physical properties such as pore size, scaffold dimensions, swelling and mechanical properties, as well as the amount of sericin released from sericin/polyvinyl alcohol/glycerin scaffolds, were also investigated. Ethanol treatment was ineffective for sericin scaffold sterilization whereas gamma irradiation was the most effective technique for scaffold sterilization. Moreover, ethanol also caused significant changes in pore size resulting from shrinkage of the scaffold. Gamma-irradiated samples exhibited the highest swelling property, but they also lost the greatest amount of weight after immersion for 24 h compared with scaffolds obtained from other sterilization methods. The results of the maximum stress test and Young’s modulus showed that gamma-irradiated and ethanol-treated scaffolds are more flexible than the EtO-treated and untreated scaffolds. The amount of sericin released, which was related to its collagen promoting effect, was highest from the gamma-irradiated scaffold. The results of this study indicate that gamma irradiation should have the greatest potential for sterilizing sericin scaffolds for skin tissue engineering.
doi:10.1208/s12249-011-9641-y
PMCID: PMC3134674  PMID: 21671201
ethanol; ethylene oxide; gamma irradiation; scaffold; sericin

Results 1-3 (3)