Effect of 3D Printing Temperature on Bioactivity of Bone Morphogenetic Protein-2 Released from Polymeric Constructs

Annals of Biomedical Engineering 2021 Volume 49, Pages 2114–2125

Growth factors such as bone morphogenetic protein-2 (BMP-2) are potent tools for tissue engineering. Three-dimensional (3D) printing offers a potential strategy for delivery of BMP-2 from polymeric constructs; however, these biomolecules are sensitive to inactivation by the elevated temperatures commonly employed during extrusion-based 3D printing. Therefore, we aimed to correlate printing temperature to the bioactivity of BMP-2 released from 3D printed constructs composed of a model polymer, poly(propylene fumarate). Following encapsulation of BMP-2 in poly(dl-lactic-co-glycolic acid) particles, growth factor-loaded fibers were fabricated at three different printing temperatures. Resulting constructs underwent 28 days of aqueous degradation for collection of released BMP-2. Supernatants were then assayed for the presence of bioactive BMP-2 using a cellular assay for alkaline phosphatase activity. Cumulative release profiles indicated that BMP-2 released from constructs that were 3D printed at physiologic and intermediate temperatures exhibited comparable total amounts of bioactive BMP-2 release as those encapsulated in non-printed particulate delivery vehicles. Meanwhile, the elevated printing temperature of 90 °C resulted in a decreased amount of total bioactive BMP-2 release from the fibers. These findings elucidate the effects of elevated printing temperatures on BMP-2 bioactivity during extrusion-based 3D printing, and enlighten polymeric material selection for 3D printing with growth factors.