Synthesis, properties, and biomedical applications of gelatin methacryloyl (GelMA) hydrogels

Biomaterials. 2015 Dec;73:254-71. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2015.08.045. Epub 2015 Aug 28.


Gelatin methacryloyl (GelMA) hydrogels have been widely used for various biomedical applications due to their suitable biological properties and tunable physical characteristics. GelMA hydrogels closely resemble some essential properties of native extracellular matrix (ECM) due to the presence of cell-attaching and matrix metalloproteinase responsive peptide motifs, which allow cells to proliferate and spread in GelMA-based scaffolds. GelMA is also versatile from a processing perspective. It crosslinks when exposed to light irradiation to form hydrogels with tunable mechanical properties. It can also be microfabricated using different methodologies including micromolding, photomasking, bioprinting, self-assembly, and microfluidic techniques to generate constructs with controlled architectures. Hybrid hydrogel systems can also be formed by mixing GelMA with nanoparticles such as carbon nanotubes and graphene oxide, and other polymers to form networks with desired combined properties and characteristics for specific biological applications. Recent research has demonstrated the proficiency of GelMA-based hydrogels in a wide range of tissue engineering applications including engineering of bone, cartilage, cardiac, and vascular tissues, among others. Other applications of GelMA hydrogels, besides tissue engineering, include fundamental cell research, cell signaling, drug and gene delivery, and bio-sensing.

Keywords: Biomedical; GelMA; Gelatin; Hydrogel; Methacryloyl; Tissue engineering.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Motifs
  • Animals
  • Biocompatible Materials / chemistry*
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Extracellular Matrix / metabolism
  • Gelatin / chemistry*
  • Graphite / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Hydrogels / chemistry*
  • Methacrylates / chemistry*
  • Mice
  • Microfluidics
  • Nanotubes, Carbon / chemistry
  • Oxides / chemistry
  • Polymers / chemistry
  • Tissue Engineering / methods
  • Tissue Scaffolds / chemistry


  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Hydrogels
  • Methacrylates
  • Nanotubes, Carbon
  • Oxides
  • Polymers
  • Graphite
  • Gelatin