Silk fibers have proven to be effective in many clinical applications as well as for clothing. In addition to the substantial effect of silk fibers, the present study was conducted to explore its importance in a new dimension to reinforce the effects of its physiological function regarding anti-tumor activity and immune response with gamma-irradiated silk fibroin (GISF). The cytotoxicity results showed that pre-treatment of GISF in the mouse peritoneal macrophages (MPM) indicated a higher proliferative effect than that of non-irradiated silk fibroin (NISF) in a concentration-dependent manner. Based on the cytotoxicity result of MPM, GISF (50 and 150. kGy) was selected for an ex vivo study in an animal (C57BL6) system and evaluated about whether the non-specific immune response was also related to GISF. GISF (50 and 150. kGy) augmented immune responsiveness via activation of NK cells, T lymphocytes proliferation, NO production, and cytokine level, such as IL-6, IL-2, IL-12, IFN-γ, TNF-α, as compared with NISF, which strongly suggested that GISF significantly augmented an important element of all aspects of the innate and adaptive immune system. Therefore, from these results, it seems likely that the GISF will play a potent role in eliciting the effect of the non-specific immune response and anti-tumor activity as a value-added product in the medical industry.
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