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Dual Crosslinked Gelatin Methacryloyl Hydrogels for Photolithography and 3D Printing

  • basara, gozde
  • yue, xiaoshan
  • zorlutuna, pinar
Publication Date
Jul 03, 2019
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Gelatin methacryloyl (GelMA) hydrogels have been used in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine because of their biocompatibility, photopatternability, printability, and tunable mechanical and rheological properties. However, low mechanical strength limits their applications in controlled drug release, non-viral gene therapy, and tissue and disease modeling. In this work, a dual crosslinking method for GelMA is introduced. First, photolithography was used to pattern the gels through the crosslinking of methacrylate incorporated amine groups of GelMA. Second, a microbial transglutaminase (mTGase) solution was introduced in order to enzymatically crosslink the photopatterned gels by initiating a chemical reaction between the glutamine and lysine groups of the GelMA hydrogel. The results showed that dual crosslinking improved the stiffness and rheological properties of the hydrogels without affecting cell viability, when compared to single crosslinking with either ultraviolet (UV) exposure or mTGase treatment. Our results also demonstrate that when treated with mTGase, hydrogels show decreased swelling properties and better preservation of photolithographically patterned shapes. Similar effects were observed when three dimensional (3D) printed and photocrosslinked substrates were treated with mTGase. Such dual crosslinking methods can be used to improve the mechanical properties and pattern fidelity of GelMA gels, as well as dynamic control of the stiffness of tissue engineered constructs.

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