3D bioprinted multiscale composite scaffolds based on gelatin methacryloyl (GelMA)/chitosan microspheres as a modular bioink for enhancing 3D neurite outgrowth and elongation

The integration of multiscale micro- and macroenvironment has been demonstrated as a critical role in designing biomimetic scaffolds for peripheral nerve tissue regeneration. While it remains a remarkable challenge for developing a biomimetic multiscale scaffold for enhancing 3D neuronal maturation and outgrowth. Herein, we present a 3D bioprinted multiscale scaffold based on a modular bioink for integrating the 3D micro- and macroenvironment of native nerve tissue. Gelatin methacryloyl (GelMA)/Chitosan Microspheres (GC-MSs) were prepared by a microfluidic approach, and the effect of these microspheres on enhancing neurite outgrowth and elongation of PC12 cells was demonstrated. The 3D multiscale composite scaffolds were bioprinted based on microspheres and hydrogel as the modular bioink. The co-culture of PC12 cells and RSC96 Schwann cells within these 3D biomimetic scaffolds were investigated to evaluate such a 3D multiscale environment for neurite outgrowth and Schwann cell proliferation. These results indicate that such multiscale composite scaffold with hydrogel microspheres provided a suitable 3D microenvironment for enhancing neurite growth, and the 3D printed hydrogel network provided a 3D macroenvironment mimicking the epineurium layer for Schwann cells proliferation and nerve cell organization, which is promising for the great potential applications in nerve tissue engineering.