Hybrid 3D Printing of Advanced Hydrogel-Based Wound Dressings with Tailorable Properties

Marko Milojević, Gregor Harih, Boštjan Vihar, Jernej Vajda, Lidija Gradišnik, Tanja Zidarič, Karin Stana Kleinschek, Uroš Maver*, Tina Maver*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Despite the extensive utilization of polysaccharide hydrogels in regenerative medicine, current fabrication methods fail to produce mechanically stable scaffolds using only hydrogels. The recently developed hybrid extrusion-based bioprinting process promises to resolve these current issues by facilitating the simultaneous printing of stiff thermoplastic polymers and softer hydrogels at different temperatures. Using layer-by-layer deposition, mechanically advantageous scaffolds can be produced by integrating the softer hydrogel matrix into a stiffer synthetic framework. This work demonstrates the fabrication of hybrid hydrogel-thermoplastic polymer scaffolds with tunable structural and chemical properties for applications in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Through an alternating deposition of polycaprolactone and alginate/carboxymethylcellulose gel strands, scaffolds with the desired architecture (e.g., filament thickness, pore size, macro-/microporosity), and rheological characteristics (e.g., swelling capacity, degradation rate, and wettability) were prepared. The hybrid fabrication approach allows the fine-tuning of wettability (approx. 50–75°), swelling (approx. 0–20× increased mass), degradability (approx. 2–30+ days), and mechanical strength (approx. 0.2–11 MPa) in the range between pure hydrogels and pure thermoplastic polymers, while providing a gradient of surface properties and good biocompatibility. The controlled degradability and permeability of the hydrogel component may also enable controlled drug delivery. Our work shows that the novel hybrid hydrogel-thermoplastic scaffolds with adjustable characteristics have immense potential for tissue engineering and can serve as templates for developing novel wound dressings.
Original languageEnglish
Article number564
JournalPharmaceutics
Volume13
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Apr 2021

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