Publication Details

Xu, W., Molino, B. Zhang., Cheng, F., Molino, P. J., Yue, Z., Su, D., Wang, X., Willfor, S., Xu, C. & Wallace, G. G. (2019). On Low-Concentration Inks Formulated by Nanocellulose Assisted with Gelatin Methacrylate (GelMA) for 3D Printing toward Wound Healing Application. ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, 11 (9), 8838-8848.


Cellulose nanofibrils (CNFs) in the form of hydrogels stand out as a platform biomaterial in bioink formulation for 3D printing because of their low cytotoxicity and structural similarity to extracellular matrices. In the present study, 3D scaffolds were successfully printed with low-concentration inks formulated by 1 w/v % 2,2,6,6-Tetramethylpiperidine-1-oxyl radical (TEMPO)-oxidized CNF with less than 1 w/v % gelatin methacrylate (GelMA). Quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation monitoring (QCM-D) measurements showed strong interaction between the two biopolymers. The UV cross-linking ability of GelMA (≤1 w/v %) was enhanced in the presence of TEMPO-oxidized CNFs. Multiple factors including strong physical interaction between CNF and GelMA, in situ cross-linking of CNF by Ca 2+ , and UV cross-linking of GelMA enabled successful 3D printing of low-concentration inks of CNF/GelMA into scaffolds possessing good structural stability. The mechanical strength of the scaffolds was tuned in the range of 2.5 to 5 kPa. The cell culture with 3T3 fibroblasts revealed noncytotoxic and biocompatible features for the formulated inks and printed scaffolds. More importantly, the incorporated GelMA in the CNF hydrogel promoted the proliferation of fibroblasts. The developed low-concentration CNF/GelMA formulations with a facile yet effective approach to fabricate scaffolds showed great potential in 3D printing for wound healing application.

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