Targeted micro-heterogeneity in bioinks allows for 3D printing of complex constructs with improved resolution and cell viability

  • Autor:

    Maciel, B. R. / Grimm, A. / Oelschlaeger, C. / Schepers, U. / Willenbacher, N. (2023)

  • Quelle:

    Biofabrication, 2023, 15,  4, 045013

  • Datum: August 2023
  • Abstract

    Three-dimensional bioprinting is an evolving versatile technique for biomedical applications. Ideal bioinks have complex micro-environment that mimic human tissue, allow for good printing quality and provide high cell viability after printing. Here we present two strategies for enhancing gelatin-based bioinks heterogeneity on a 1–100 µm length scale resulting in superior printing quality and high cell viability. A thorough spatial and micro-mechanical characterization of swollen hydrogel heterogeneity was done using multiple particle tracking microrheology. When poly(vinyl alcohol) is added to homogeneous gelatin gels, viscous inclusions are formed due to micro-phase separation. This phenomenon leads to pronounced slip and superior printing quality of complex 3D constructs as well as high human hepatocellular carcinoma (HepG2) and normal human dermal fibroblast (NHDF) cell viability due to reduced shear damage during extrusion. Similar printability and cell viability results are obtained with gelatin/nanoclay composites. The formation of polymer/nanoclay clusters reduces the critical stress of gel fracture, which facilitates extrusion, thus enhancing printing quality and cell viability. Targeted introduction of micro-heterogeneities in bioinks through micro-phase separation is an effective technique for high resolution 3D printing of complex constructs with high cell viability. The size of the heterogeneities, however, has to be substantially smaller than the desired feature size in order to achieve good printing quality.