Improved Quality of 3D-Printed Tissue Constructs Through Enhanced Mixing of Alginate Hydrogels

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Cohen, Daniel L.
Tsavaris, Andrew M.
Lo, Winifred M.
Bonassar, Lawrence J.
Lipson, Hod

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University of Texas at Austin


While alginate hydrogel is a desirable material platform for Solid Freeform Fabrication (SFF) of cell-seeded tissue engineering scaffolds, achieving consistently high-quality results can be challenging. Local variations in the material properties cause inconsistent material deposition behavior and consequently decrease the resultant geometric fidelity of the construct. The effects of gel mixing on material property consistency, geometric fidelity, and cell viability were characterized in an attempt to improve the formulation’s compatibility with SFF processing. Material homogeneity was quantified through a novel experimental setup composed of an EnduraTEC mechanical test-frame and custom syringe-extrusion jig. Cell viability and geometric fidelity were assessed using standard protocol. The baseline mechanical stiffness of the printed samples was 16±3 kPa (n=6). We found that increasing mixing reduced material inconsistency and improved geometric fidelity, without adversely affecting cell viability: the printed construct quality was drastically improved by increasing mixing well beyond previously established limits.


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