To study biological processes in vitro, biomaterials-based engineering solutions to reproduce the gradients observed in tissues are necessary. We present a platform for the 3D bioprinting of functionally graded biomaterials based on carboxylated agarose, a bioink amendable by extrusion bioprinting. Using this bioink, objects with a gradient of stiffness and gradient of cell concentration were printed. Functionalization of carboxylated agarose with maleimide moieties that react in minutes with a cysteine-terminated cell-adhesion peptide allowed us to print objects with a gradient of an immobilized peptide. This approach paves the way toward the development of tissue mimics with gradients.
Keywords: agarose; anisotropy; polysaccharide.