In order to be used for bioprinting, bioinks should be compatible with applicable bioprinting technologies to fabricate functional living constructs with suitable biological and mechanical properties. In addition to their biocompatibility, biomimicry, and biodegradability, important properties of ideal bioinks may include (1) printability, (2) mechanical integrity and stability. In particular, the bioink printability is a critical requirement as tissue constructs must be able to be printed and reproduce the complex micro-architecture of native tissues in vitro in sufficient resolution. The bioink printability is generally characterized in terms of the controllable formation of well-defined droplets/jets/filaments and/or the morphology and shape fidelity of deposited building blocks, which also requires a good mechanical property of deposited bioinks.
While various bioinks have been developed for bioprinting applications, many promising bioinks such as ECM-derived bioinks are typically difficult to be printed into 3D constructs with necessary physical properties, and most printed constructs are either difficult to have complex features or too weak to be truly 3D. It is of great interest to enhance the printability of ECM-derived bioinks while not sacrificing their attractive biological properties.
The proposed study will have two specific aims as follows: 1) to investigate applicable rheological additives and determine the rheological properties and printability of ECM-derived bioinks modified with rheological additives and 2) to evaluate the cellular behavior of post-printing living cells when using ECM-rheological additive bioinks