Inkjet bioprinting is one of the most promising additive manufacturing approaches for tissue fabrication with the advantages of high speed, high resolution, and low cost. The limitation of this technology is the potential damage to the printed cells and frequent clogging of the printhead. Here we developed acrylated peptides and co-printed with acrylated poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) hydrogel with simultaneous photopolymerization. At the same time, the bone marrow-derived human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) were precisely printed during the scaffold fabrication process so the cells were delivered simultaneously with minimal UV exposure. The multiple steps of scaffold synthesis and cell encapsulation were successfully combined into one single step using bioprinting. The resulted peptide-conjugated PEG scaffold demonstrated excellent biocompatibility, with a cell viability of 87.9 ± 5.3%. Nozzle clogging was minimized due to the low viscosity of the PEG polymer. With osteogenic and chondrogenic differentiation, the bioprinted bone and cartilage tissue demonstrated excellent mineral and cartilage matrix deposition, as well as significantly increased mechanical properties. Strikingly, the bioprinted PEG-peptide scaffold dramatically inhibited hMSC hypertrophy during chondrogenic differentiation. Collectively, bioprinted PEG-peptide scaffold and hMSCs significantly enhanced osteogenic and chondrogenic differentiation for robust bone and cartilage formation with minimal printhead clogging.
Keywords: Bioprinting; Cartilage; Extracellular matrix; Mesenchymal stem cells; Photopolymerization.
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