The Effect of Collagen-I Coatings of 3D Printed PCL Scaffolds for Bone Replacement on Three Different Cell Types

Applied Sciences 2021 Volume 11, Issue 22, Article 11063


The use of scaffolds in tissue engineering is becoming increasingly important as solutions need to be found to preserve human tissues such as bone or cartilage. Various factors, including cells, biomaterials, cell and tissue culture conditions, play a crucial role in tissue engineering. The in vivo environment of the cells exerts complex stimuli on the cells, thereby directly influencing cell behavior, including proliferation and differentiation. Therefore, to create suitable replacement or regeneration procedures for human tissues, the conditions of the cells’ natural environment should be well mimicked. Therefore, current research is trying to develop 3-dimensional scaffolds (scaffolds) that can elicit appropriate cellular responses and thus help the body regenerate or replace tissues. In this work, scaffolds were printed from the biomaterial polycaprolactone (PCL) on a 3D bioplotter. Biocompatibility testing was used to determine whether the printed scaffolds were suitable for use in tissue engineering.

Material and Methods

An Envisiontec 3D bioplotter was used to fabricate the scaffolds. For better cell-scaffold interaction, the printed polycaprolactone scaffolds were coated with type-I collagen. Three different cell types were then cultured on the scaffolds and various tests were used to investigate the biocompatibility of the scaffolds.


Reproducible scaffolds could be printed from polycaprolactone. In addition, a coating process with collagen was developed, which significantly improved the cell-scaffold interaction. Biocompatibility tests showed that the PCL-collagen scaffolds are suitable for use with cells. The cells adhered to the surface of the scaffolds and as a result extensive cell growth was observed on the scaffolds. The inner part of the scaffolds, however, remained largely uninhabited. In the cytotoxicity studies, it was found that toxicity below 20% was present in some experimental runs. The determination of the compressive strength by means of the universal testing machine Z005 by ZWICK according to DIN EN ISO 604 of the scaffolds resulted in a value of 68.49 ± 0.47 MPa.