Hydrogel Bioink Reinforcement for Additive Manufacturing: A Focused Review of Emerging Strategies
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Bioprinting is an emerging approach for fabricating cell-laden 3D scaffolds via robotic deposition of cells and biomaterials into custom shapes and patterns to replicate complex tissue architectures. Bioprinting uses hydrogel solutions called bioinks as both cell carriers and structural components, requiring bioinks to be highly printable while providing a robust and cell-friendly microenvironment. Unfortunately, conventional hydrogel bioinks have not been able to meet these requirements and are mechanically weak due to their heterogeneously crosslinked networks and lack of energy dissipation mechanisms. Advanced bioink designs using various methods of dissipating mechanical energy are aimed at developing next-generation cellularized 3D scaffolds to mimic anatomical size, tissue architecture, and tissue-specific functions. These next-generation bioinks need to have high print fidelity and should provide a biocompatible microenvironment along with improved mechanical properties. To design these advanced bioink formulations, it is important to understand the structure-property-function relationships of hydrogel networks. By specifically leveraging biophysical and biochemical characteristics of hydrogel networks, high performance bioinks can be designed to control and direct cell functions. In this review article, current and emerging approaches in hydrogel design and bioink reinforcement techniques are critically evaluated. This bottom-up perspective provides a materials-centric approach to bioink design for 3D bioprinting.
author list (cited authors)
Chimene, D., Kaunas, R., & Gaharwar, A. K.