Elastic biodegradable hydrogel for bioprinting of new tissues

Figure 1. Preparation and characterization of highly elastic, visible-light cross-linked, single-network, biodegradable hydrogel for cell printing. An acrylated PCL–PEG–PCL triblock polymer was synthesized and then cross-linked using visible light to form a highly elastic single-network biodegradable hydrogel. The hydrogel has attractive mechanical properties, and it is stretchable, compressible, and twistable. The hydrogel can also be bioprinted with various human cells and form complex patterns upon visible-light exposure.

Researchers at The University of Texas at Arlington have developed a highly elastic biodegradable hydrogel for bio-printing of materials that mimic natural human soft tissues. Bio-printing uses live cells within the scaffolding of the new tissues and could potentially transform cell printing.

A provisional patent application has been filed on this new material, which will be able to generate multiple types of human soft tissues, including skin, skeletal muscles, blood vessels and heart muscles.

“Soft tissue bio-printing suffers from significant challenges as the hydrogels were often brittle and un-stretchable and could not mimic the mechanical behavior of human soft tissues,” said Yi Hong, UTA professor of bioengineering and leader of the project.

“To overcome these challenges, we developed a simple system using a single cross-linking mechanism activated by visible light to achieve a highly elastic and robust, biodegradable and biocompatible hydrogel for cell printing,” Hong added.

The researchers have described their findings in a new journal paper published recently in the American Chemical Society’s ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces as “Highly Elastic Biodegradable Single-Network Hydrogel for Cell Printing.” The paper was also selected as an American Chemical Society Editors’ Choice.

Read more: Highly elastic biodegradable hydrogel for bioprinting of new tissues

ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces (2018). DOI: 10.1021/acsami.8b01294 

thumbnail courtesy of phys.org