Fabrication and Characterization of ADA-GEL Based 3D Printed Hydrogel Structures for Cartilage Tissue Engineering


Investigator: Sonja Kuth (Master Student) Sonja Kuth


Supervisor: Thomas Distler, Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil. Aldo Boccaccini

Cartilage is the only tissue in the human body that is not fully vascularized. Whenever cartilage damage appears, the body has only very limited capabilities to repair cartilage tissue. Cartilage repair must therefore be supported by appropriate, degradable cell-laden scaffolds to promote tissue regeneration. The ADA-GEL hydrogel system composed of an oxidized form of alginate, alginate di-aldehyd (ADA), and gelatin (GEL) showed promising properties regarding its application as 3D printed scaffold for tissue engineering [1], while oxidized alginate has been investigated in cartilage repair strategies earlier [2]. Oxidizing alginate allows it to crosslink with gelatin through a Schiff´s base formation [3, 4]. Adding gelatin to ADA promotes the ability of cell adhesion to the material, as alginate does not contain any ligand binding sites which gelatin does [3]. ADA-GEL hydrogels therefore provide 3D, biocompatible and degradable environment for cell culturing, adhesion and proliferation. The aim of this work is to fabricate 3D printed structures from ADA-GEL hydrogels through biofabrication using a bioplotting approach. Cell-laden bioinks will be be characterized according to their degradation behavior, cell spreading and proliferation as well as stiffness and microstructure to assess the optimal hydrogel system for application as novel 3D printed construct for cartilage repair. The research is performed in collaboration with Prof. Dr. Gundula Schulze Tanzil and Dr. Silke Schwarz from the Paracelsus Medical Private University, Nuremberg.

[1] U. Rottensteiner et al., “In vitro and in vivo biocompatibility of alginate dialdehyde/gelatin hydrogels with and without nanoscaled bioactive glass for bone tissue engineering applications,” Materials (Basel)., vol. 7, no. 3, pp. 1957–1974, 2014.

[2] K. H. Bouhadir, et al., “Degradation of partially oxidized alginate and its potential application for tissue engineering,” Biotechnol. Prog., vol. 17, no. 5, pp. 945–950, 2001.

[3] B. Sarker et al., “Fabrication of alginate-gelatin crosslinked hydrogel microcapsules and evaluation of the microstructure and physico-chemical properties,” J. Mater. Chem. B, vol. 2, no. 11, pp. 1470–1482, 2014.

[4] S. Reakasame and A. R. Boccaccini, "Oxidized Alginate-Based Hydrogels for Tissue Engineering Applications: A Review", Biomacromolecules, vol. 19, no. 1, pp. 3–21, 2018.