Functionalized gelatin-alginate based bioink with enhanced manufacturability and biomimicry for accelerating wound healing

International Journal of Biological Macromolecules 2023 Volume 240, Article 124364

Three-dimensional (3D) bioprinting is a promising technique to construct heterogeneous architectures that mimic cell microenvironment. However, the current bioinks for 3D bioprinting usually show some limitations, such as low printing accuracy, unsatisfactory mechanical properties and compromised cytocompatibility. Herein, a novel bioink comprising hydroxyphenyl propionic acid-conjugated gelatin and tyramine-modified alginate is developed for printing 3D constructs. The bioink takes advantage of an ionic/covalent intertwined network that combines covalent bonds formed by photo-mediated redox reaction and ionic bonds formed by chelate effect. Benefiting from the thermosensitivity of gelatin and the double-crosslinking mechanism, the developed bioink shows controllable rheological behaviors, enhanced mechanical behavior, improved printing accuracy and structure stability. Moreover, the printed cell-laden hydrogels exhibit a homogeneous cell distribution and considerable cell survival because the pre-crosslinking of the bioink prevents cellular sedimentation and the visible light crosslinking mechanism preserves cell viability. Further in vivo studies demonstrate that resulting cell-laden hydrogels are beneficial for the reduction of inflammation response and the promotion of collagen deposition and angiogenesis, thereby improving the quality of skin wound healing. This convenient and effective strategy is of great significance for accelerating the development of multifunctional bioinks and broadening the biomedical applications of 3D bioprinting.