Collagen Bioinks for Bioprinting: A Systematic Review of Hydrogel Properties, Bioprinting Parameters, Protocols, and Bioprinted Structure Characteristics

Biomedicines. 2021 Sep 1;9(9):1137. doi: 10.3390/biomedicines9091137.


Bioprinting is a modern tool suitable for creating cell scaffolds and tissue or organ carriers from polymers that mimic tissue properties and create a natural environment for cell development. A wide range of polymers, both natural and synthetic, are used, including extracellular matrix and collagen-based polymers. Bioprinting technologies, based on syringe deposition or laser technologies, are optimal tools for creating precise constructs precisely from the combination of collagen hydrogel and cells. This review describes the different stages of bioprinting, from the extraction of collagen hydrogels and bioink preparation, over the parameters of the printing itself, to the final testing of the constructs. This study mainly focuses on the use of physically crosslinked high-concentrated collagen hydrogels, which represents the optimal way to create a biocompatible 3D construct with sufficient stiffness. The cell viability in these gels is mainly influenced by the composition of the bioink and the parameters of the bioprinting process itself (temperature, pressure, cell density, etc.). In addition, a detailed table is included that lists the bioprinting parameters and composition of custom bioinks from current studies focusing on printing collagen gels without the addition of other polymers. Last but not least, our work also tries to refute the often-mentioned fact that highly concentrated collagen hydrogel is not suitable for 3D bioprinting and cell growth and development.

Keywords: bioink; bioprinting; bioprinting parameters; collagen; hydrogel; hydrogel properties.

Publication types

  • Review