Dynamically Cross-Linked Granular Hydrogels for 3D Printing and Therapeutic Delivery. Academic Article uri icon


  • Granular hydrogels have recently emerged as promising biomaterials for tissue engineering and 3D-printing applications, addressing the limitations of bulk hydrogels while exhibiting desirable properties such as injectability and high porosity. However, their structural stability can be improved with post-injection interparticle cross-linking. In this study, we developed granular hydrogels with interparticle cross-linking through reversible and dynamic covalent bonds. We fragmented photo-cross-linked bulk hydrogels to produce aldehyde or hydrazide-functionalized microgels using chondroitin sulfate. Mixing these microgels facilitated interparticle cross-linking through reversible hydrazone bonds, providing shear-thinning and self-healing properties for injectability and 3D printing. The resulting granular hydrogels displayed high mechanical stability without the need for secondary cross-linking. Furthermore, the porosity and sustained release of growth factors from these hydrogels synergistically enhanced cell recruitment. Our study highlights the potential of reversible interparticle cross-linking for designing injectable and 3D printable therapeutic delivery scaffolds using granular hydrogels. Overall, our study highlights the potential of reversible interparticle cross-linking to improve the structural stability of granular hydrogels, making them an effective biomaterial for use in tissue engineering and 3D-printing applications.

published proceedings

  • ACS Appl Bio Mater

altmetric score

  • 1.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Lee, H., Davis, R., Wang, T., Deo, K. A., Cai, K. X., Alge, D. L., Lele, T. P., & Gaharwar, A. K.

citation count

  • 3

complete list of authors

  • Lee, Hung-Pang||Davis, Ryan||Wang, Ting-Ching||Deo, Kaivalya A||Cai, Kathy Xiao||Alge, Daniel L||Lele, Tanmay P||Gaharwar, Akhilesh K

publication date

  • September 2023