Improved properties of bone and cartilage tissue from 3D inkjet-bioprinted human mesenchymal stem cells by simultaneous deposition and photocrosslinking in PEG-GelMA

Biotechnol Lett. 2015 Nov;37(11):2349-55. doi: 10.1007/s10529-015-1921-2. Epub 2015 Jul 22.


Objectives: Bioprinting of bone and cartilage suffers from low mechanical properties. Here we have developed a unique inkjet bioprinting approach of creating mechanically strong bone and cartilage tissue constructs using poly(ethylene glycol) dimethacrylate, gelatin methacrylate, and human MSCs.

Results: The printed hMSCs were evenly distributed in the polymerized PEG-GelMA scaffold during layer-by-layer assembly. The procedure showed a good biocompatibility with >80% of the cells surviving the printing process and the resulting constructs provided strong mechanical support to the embedded cells. The printed mesenchymal stem cells showed an excellent osteogenic and chondrogenic differentiation capacity. Both osteogenic and chondrogenic differentiation as determined by specific gene and protein expression analysis (RUNX2, SP7, DLX5, ALPL, Col1A1, IBSP, BGLAP, SPP1, Col10A1, MMP13, SOX9, Col2A1, ACAN) was improved by PEG-GelMA in comparison to PEG alone. These observations were consistent with the histological evaluation.

Conclusions: Inkjet bioprinted-hMSCs in simultaneously photocrosslinked PEG-GelMA hydrogel scaffolds demonstrated an improvement of mechanical properties and osteogenic and chondrogenic differentiation, suggesting its promising potential for usage in bone and cartilage tissue engineering.

Keywords: Bone; Cartilage; Hydrogel; Inkjet bioprinting; Mesenchymal stem cells; Photopolymerization.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bioprinting / methods*
  • Bone and Bones / cytology*
  • Cartilage / cytology*
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Humans
  • Hydrogels / chemistry
  • Male
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Methacrylates / chemistry*
  • Photochemical Processes
  • Polyethylene Glycols / chemistry*
  • Tissue Engineering / methods*
  • Young Adult


  • Hydrogels
  • Methacrylates
  • poly(ethylene glycol)-dimethacrylate
  • Polyethylene Glycols