A dual crosslinking strategy to tailor rheological properties of gelatin methacryloyl

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Miaomiao Zhou, Bae Hoon Lee, Lay Poh Tan


3D bioprinting is an emerging technology that enables fabrication of three-dimensional organised cellular constructs. One of the major challenges in 3D bioprinting is to develop a material to meet the harsh requirements (cell-compatibility, printability, structural stability post-printing and bio-functionality to regulate cell behaviours) suitable for printing. Gelatin methacryloyl (GelMA) has recently emerged as an attractive biomaterial in tissue engineering because it satisfies the requirements of bio-functionality and mechanical tunability. However, the poor rheological property such as low viscosity at body temperature inhibits its application in 3D bioprinting. In this work, an enzymatic crosslinking method triggered by Ca2+-independent microbial transglutaminase (MTGase) was introduced to catalyse isopeptide bonds formation between chains of GelMA, which could improve its rheological behaviours, specifically its viscosity. By combining enzymatic crosslinking and photo crosslinking, it is possible to tune the solution viscosity and quickly stabilize the gelatin macromolecules at the same time. The results showed that the enzymatic crosslinking can increase the solution viscosity. Subsequent photo crosslinking could aid in fast stabilization of the structure and make handling easy.


microbial transglutaminase; enzymatic crosslinking; photo crosslinking; viscosity

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18063/IJB.2017.02.003


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