Preliminary application of native Nephila edulis spider silk and fibrin implant causes granulomatous foreign body reaction in vivo in rat's spinal cord.
After spinal cord injury, gliomesenchymal scaring inhibits axonal regeneration as a physical barrier. In peripheral nerve injuries, native spider silk was shown to be an effective scaffold to facilitate axonal re-growth and nerve regeneration. This study tested a two-composite scaffold made of longitudinally oriented native spider silk containing a Haemocomplettan fibrin sheath to bridge lesions in the spinal cord and enhance axonal sprouting. In vitro cultivation of neuronal cells on spider silk and fibrin revealed no cytotoxicity of the scaffold components. When spinal cord tissue was cultured on spider silk that was reeled around a metal frame, migration of different cell types, including neurons and neural stem cells, was observed. The scaffold was implanted into spinal cord lesions of four Wistar rats to evaluate the physical stress caused on the animals and examine the bridging potential for axonal sprouting and spinal cord regeneration. However, the implantation in-vivo resulted in a granulomatous foreign body reaction. Spider silk might be responsible for the strong immune response. Thus, the immune response to native spider silk seems to be stronger in the central nervous system than it is known to be in the peripheral body complicating the application of native spider silk in spinal cord injury treatment.