Hydrogel Bioinks of Alginate and Curcumin-Loaded Cellulose Ester-Based Particles for the Biofabrication of Drug-Releasing Living Tissue Analogs

ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 2023 Volume 15, Issue 34, Pages 40898-40912

3D bioprinting is a versatile technique that allows the fabrication of living tissue analogs through the layer-by-layer deposition of cell-laden biomaterials, viz. bioinks. In this work, composite alginate hydrogel-based bioinks reinforced with curcumin-loaded particles of cellulose esters (CEpCUR) and laden with human keratinocytes (HaCaT) are developed. The addition of the CEpCUR particles, with sizes of 740 ± 147 nm, improves the rheological properties of the inks, increasing their shear stress and viscosity, while preserving the recovery rate and the mechanical and viscoelastic properties of the resulting fully cross-linked hydrogels. Moreover, the presence of these particles reduces the degradation rate of the hydrogels from 26.3 ± 0.8% (ALG) to 18.7 ± 1.3% (ALG:CEpCUR_10%) after 3 days in the culture medium. The 3D structures printed with the ALG:CEpCUR inks reveal increased printing definition and the ability to release curcumin (with nearly 70% of cumulative release after 24 h in PBS). After being laden with HaCaT cells (1.2 × 106 cells mL–1), the ALG:CEpCUR bioinks can be successfully 3D bioprinted, and the obtained living constructs show good dimensional stability and high cell viabilities at 7 days post-bioprinting (nearly 90%), confirming their great potential for application in fields like wound healing.