3D-printing-assisted fabrication of chitosan scaffolds from different sources and cross-linkers for dental tissue engineering

Eur Cell Mater. 2021 May 5;41:485-501. doi: 10.22203/eCM.v041a31.


The aim of the present study was to fabricate and characterise chitosan scaffolds from animal and fungal sources, with or without gelatine as a co-polymer, and cross-linked to 3-glycidyloxyproply trimethoxysilane (GPTMS) or genipin for application in dental root tissue engineering. Chitosan-based scaffolds were prepared by the emulsion freeze-drying technique. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and nano-focus computed tomography (nano-CT) were used to characterise scaffold microstructure. Chemical composition and cross-linking were evaluated by Fourier transform infrared-attenuated total reflectance spectroscopy. Compression tests were performed to evaluate scaffold mechanical properties. Scaffold degradation was evaluated by gravimetric method and SEM. Scaffold bioactivity immersed in simulated body fluid was evaluated by SEM, with associated electron dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, and apatite formation was examined by X-ray diffraction. Finally, human dental pulp stem cells (hDPSCs) viability was evaluated. The fabrication method used was successful in producing scaffolds with organised porosity. Chitosan source (animal vs. fungal), co-polymerisation with gelatine and cross-linking using GPTMS or genipin had a significant effect on scaffold properties and hDPSCs response. Chitosan-genipin (CS-GEN) scaffolds had the largest pore diameter, while the chitosan-gelatine-GPTMS (CS-GEL-GPTMS) scaffolds had the smallest. Animal chitosan-gelatine co-polymerisation increased scaffold compressive strength, while fungal chitosan scaffolds (fCS-GEL-GPTMS) had the fastest degradation rate, losing 80 % of their weight by day 21. Gelatine co-polymerisation and GPTMS cross-linking enhanced chitosan scaffolds bioactivity through the formation of an apatite layer as well as improved hDPSCs attachment and viability. Tailored chitosan scaffolds with tuned properties and favourable hDPSCs response can be obtained for regenerative dentistry applications.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Biocompatible Materials / administration & dosage
  • Biocompatible Materials / chemistry
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chitosan / chemistry*
  • Compressive Strength / drug effects
  • Dental Pulp / drug effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Iridoids / administration & dosage
  • Male
  • Materials Testing / methods
  • Porosity
  • Printing, Three-Dimensional
  • Silanes / administration & dosage
  • Stem Cells / drug effects
  • Tissue Engineering / methods
  • Tissue Scaffolds / chemistry*
  • Young Adult


  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Iridoids
  • Silanes
  • Chitosan
  • genipin
  • trimethoxysilane