Chemistry matters

A side-by-side comparison of two chemically distinct methacryloylated dECM bioresins for vat photopolymerization

authored by
Ahed Almalla, Laura Elomaa, Nora Fribiczer, Timm Landes, Peng Tang, Zeinab Mahfouz, Beate Koksch, Karl Hilbert Hillebrandt, Igor Maximillian Sauer, Dag Heinemann, Sebastian Seiffert, Marie Weinhart

Decellularized extracellular matrix (dECM) is an excellent natural source for 3D bioprinting materials due to its inherent cell compatibility. In vat photopolymerization, the use of dECM-based bioresins is just emerging, and extensive research is needed to fully exploit their potential. In this study, two distinct methacryloyl-functionalized, photocrosslinkable dECM-based bioresins were prepared from digested porcine liver dECM through functionalization with glycidyl methacrylate (GMA) or conventional methacrylic anhydride (MA) under mild conditions for systematic comparison. Although the chemical modifications did not significantly affect the structural integrity of the dECM proteins, mammalian cells encapsulated in the respective hydrogels performed differently in long-term culture. In either case, photocrosslinking during 3D (bio)printing resulted in transparent, highly swollen, and soft hydrogels with good shape fidelity, excellent biomimetic properties and tunable mechanical properties (~ 0.2–2.5 kPa). Interestingly, at a similar degree of functionalization (DOF ~ 81.5–83.5 %), the dECM-GMA resin showed faster photocrosslinking kinetics in photorheology resulting in lower final stiffness and faster enzymatic biodegradation compared to the dECM-MA gels, yet comparable network homogeneity as assessed via Brillouin imaging. While human hepatic HepaRG cells exhibited comparable cell viability directly after 3D bioprinting within both materials, cell proliferation and spreading were clearly enhanced in the softer dECM-GMA hydrogels at a comparable degree of crosslinking. These differences were attributed to the additional hydrophilicity introduced to dECM via methacryloylation through GMA compared to MA. Due to its excellent printability and cytocompatibility, the functional porcine liver dECM-GMA biomaterial enables the advanced biofabrication of soft 3D tissue analogs using vat photopolymerization-based bioprinting.

PhoenixD: Photonics, Optics, and Engineering - Innovation Across Disciplines
Abteilung Phytophotonik
Institute of Physical Chemistry and Electrochemistry
External Organisation(s)
Freie Universität Berlin (FU Berlin)
Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz
Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin
Biomaterials Advances
Publication date
Publication status
Peer reviewed
ASJC Scopus subject areas
Bioengineering, Biomedical Engineering, Biomaterials
Electronic version(s) (Access: Open)