Scientists in Austria are reporting detection of previously unrecognized proteins that accumulate on the surface of silicone breast implants after implants are in the body. Georg Wick and colleagues say that the proteins may be involved in causing immune reactions in patients from breast implants and other types of silicone implants.
Their research involved 23 healthy women who were undergoing breast augmentation for cosmetic reasons, including some who were removing or replacing implants due to complications.
In an article in the current (December) issue of ACS' Journal of Proteome Research, a monthly publication, the scientists describe using a targeted proteomics approach to identify proteins adsorbed to the surface of silicone because those proteins have been identified as key components in local immune reactions to silicone. "Thus far we have identified the 30 most abundant proteins deposited on the surface of silicone, the largest known inventory of such proteins so far."
Noting uncertainty about any link between autoimmune disease and silicone implants, they state that the new report "shows that silicone promotes at least the adhesion of altered self-proteins, which in turn may trigger an autoimmune response of the immune system."
Explore further: B and T cell-targeting drug ameliorates chronic graft-versus-host disease in mice