GelMA Hydrogel Reinforced with 3D Printed PEGT/PBT Scaffolds for Supporting Epigenetically-Activated Human Bone Marrow Stromal Cells for Bone Repair

Journal of Functional Biomaterials 2022 Volume 13, Issue 2, Article 14

Epigenetic approaches using the histone deacetylase 2 and 3 inhibitor-MI192 have been reported to accelerate stem cells to form mineralised tissues. Gelatine methacryloyl (GelMA) hydrogels provide a favourable microenvironment to facilitate cell delivery and support tissue formation. However, their application for bone repair is limited due to their low mechanical strength. This study aimed to investigate a GelMA hydrogel reinforced with a 3D printed scaffold to support MI192-induced human bone marrow stromal cells (hBMSCs) for bone formation. Cell culture: The GelMA (5 wt%) hydrogel supported the proliferation of MI192-pre-treated hBMSCs. MI192-pre-treated hBMSCs within the GelMA in osteogenic culture significantly increased alkaline phosphatase activity (p ≤ 0.001) compared to control. Histology: The MI192-pre-treated group enhanced osteoblast-related extracellular matrix deposition and mineralisation (p ≤ 0.001) compared to control. Mechanical testing: GelMA hydrogels reinforced with 3D printed poly(ethylene glycol)-terephthalate/poly(butylene terephthalate) (PEGT/PBT) scaffolds exhibited a 1000-fold increase in the compressive modulus compared to the GelMA alone. MI192-pre-treated hBMSCs within the GelMA–PEGT/PBT constructs significantly enhanced extracellular matrix collagen production and mineralisation compared to control (p ≤ 0.001). These findings demonstrate that the GelMA–PEGT/PBT construct provides enhanced mechanical strength and facilitates the delivery of epigenetically-activated MSCs for bone augmentation strategies.