A Web-released article in the Journal of Proteome Research from the American Chemical Society reports that scientists in Austria have detected unrecognized proteins that accumulate on the surfaces of silicone breast implants in the body. Georg Wick and coauthors say that the proteins may be responsible for causing immune reactions in patients.

The research involved 23 healthy women who underwent breast augmentation for aesthetic reasons, including some who removed or replaced implants due to complications.

The scientists used a targeted proteomics approach to identify proteins adsorbed onto the silicone surface. The  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,”
the researchers say.

Noting uncertainty about any link between autoimmune disease and silicone implants, the authors 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.”

[www.medicalnewstoday.com, December 20, 2006]