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Polyelectrolyte gelatin-chitosan hydrogel optimized for 3D bioprinting in skin tissue engineering

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Wei Long Ng, Wai Yee Yeong, May Win Naing


Bioprinting is a promising automated platform that enables the simultaneous deposition of multiple types of cells and biomaterials to fabricate complex three-dimensional (3D) tissue constructs. Most of the previous bioprinting works focused on collagen-based biomaterial, which has poor printability and long crosslinking time. This posed a immerse challenge to create a 3D construct with pre-determined shape and configuration. There is a need for a functional material with good printability in order to fabricate a 3D skin construct. Recently, the use of chitosan for wound healing applications has attracted huge attention due to its attractive traits such as its antimicrobial properties and ability to trigger hemostasis. In this paper, we report the modification of chitosan-based biomaterials for functional 3D bioprinting. Modification to the chitosan was carried out via the oppositely charged functional groups from chitosan and gelatin at a specific pH of ~pH 6.5 to form polyelectrolyte complexes. The polyelectrolyte hydrogels were evaluated in terms of chemical interactions within polymer blend, rheological properties (viscosities, storage and loss modulus), printing resolution at varying pressures and feed rates and biocompatibility. The chitosan-based hydrogels formulated in this work exhibited good printability at room temperature, high shape fidelity of the printed 3D constructs and good biocompatibility with fibroblast skin cells.


3D printing; bioprinting; rapid prototyping; additive manufacturing; skin tissue engineering

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