We developed a facile and quick ethanol-based method for preparing silk nanoparticles and then fabricated a biodegradable and biocompatible dual-drug release system based on silk nanoparticles and the molecular networks of silk hydrogels. Model drugs incorporated in the silk nanoparticles and silk hydrogels showed fast and constant release, respectively, indicating successful dual-drug release from silk hydrogel containing silk nanoparticles. The release behaviors achieved by this dual-drug release system suggest to be regulated by physical properties (e.g., β-sheet contents and size of the silk nanoparticles and network size of the silk hydrogels), which is an important advantage for biomedical applications. The present silk-based system for dual-drug release also demonstrated no significant cytotoxicity against human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs), and thus, this silk-based dual-drug release system has potential as a versatile and useful new platform of polymeric materials for various types of dual delivery of bioactive molecules.
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