Enzymatic post-crosslinking of printed hydrogels of methacrylated gelatin and tyramine-conjugated 8-arm poly(ethylene glycol) to prepare interpenetrating 3D network structures

Jia Liang, Zhule Wang, Andreas A. Poot, Dirk W. Grijpma, Piet J. Dijkstra, Rong Wang

Article ID: 750
Vol 0, Issue 0, 2023, Article identifier:

VIEWS - 168 (Abstract) 58 (PDF) 17 (Supp.File) 8 (Supplementary videoclip 1)


Methacrylated gelatin (GelMA) has been intensively studied as a 3D printable scaffold material in tissue regeneration fields, which can be attributed to its well-known biological functions. However, the long-term stability of photo-crosslinked GelMA scaffolds is hampered by a combination of its fast degradation in the presence of collagenase and the loss of physical crosslinks at higher temperatures. To increase the longer-term shape stability of printed scaffolds, a mixture of GelMA and tyramine-conjugated 8-arm PEG (8PEGTA) was used to create filaments composed of an interpenetrating network (IPN). Photo-crosslinking during filament deposition of the GelMA and subsequent enzymatic crosslinking of the 8PEGTA were applied to the printed 3D scaffolds. Although both crosslinking mechanisms are radical based, they operate without interference of each other. Rheological data of bulk hydrogels showed that the IPN was an elastic hydrogel, having a storage modulus of 6 kPa, independent of temperature in the range of 10 – 40°C. Tensile and compression moduli were 110 kPa and 80 kPa, respectively. On enzymatic degradation in the presence of collagenase, the gelatin content of the IPN fully degraded in 7 days, leaving a stable secondary crosslinked 8PEGTA network. Using a BioMaker bioprinter, hydrogels without and with human osteosarcoma cells (hMG-63) were printed. On culturing for 21 days, hMG-63 in the GelMA/8PEGTA IPN showed a high cell viability (>90%). Thus, the presence of the photoinitiator, incubation with H2O2, and mechanical forces during printing did not hamper cell viability. This study shows that the GelMA/8PEGTA ink is a good candidate to generate cell-laden bioinks for extrusion-based printing of constructs for tissue engineering applications.


GelMA; 8-arm PEG; Photo-crosslinking; Enzymatic crosslinking; Bioprinting

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18063/ijb.750


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