MICROMACHINES, vol.12, no.2, 2021 (SCI-Expanded)
There is high demand in the medical field for rapid fabrication of biodegradable patches at low cost and high throughput for various instant applications, such as wound healing. Bioprinting is a promising technology, which makes it possible to fabricate custom biodegradable patches. However, several challenges with the physical and chemical fidelity of bioprinted patches must be solved to increase the performance of patches. Here, we presented two hybrid hydrogels made of alginate-cellulose nanocrystal (CNC) (2% w/v alginate and 4% w/v CNC) and alginate-TEMPO oxidized cellulose nanofibril (T-CNF) (4% w/v alginate and 1% w/v T-CNC) via ionic crosslinking using calcium chloride (2% w/v). These hydrogels were rheologically characterized, and printing parameters were tuned for improved shape fidelity for use with an extrusion printing head. Young's modulus of 3D printed patches was found to be 0.2-0.45 MPa, which was between the physiological ranges of human skin. Mechanical fidelity of patches was assessed through cycling loading experiments that emulate human tissue motion. 3D bioprinted patches were exposed to a solution mimicking the body fluid to characterize the biodegradability of patches at body temperature. The biodegradation of alginate-CNC and alginate-CNF was around 90% and 50% at the end of the 30-day in vitro degradation trial, which might be sufficient time for wound healing. Finally, the biocompatibility of the hydrogels was tested by cell viability analysis using NIH/3T3 mouse fibroblast cells. This study may pave the way toward improving the performance of patches and developing new patch material with high physical and chemical fidelity for instant application.