Development of a 3D-printable Hyaluronic Acid Scaffold
for Tissue Engineering Applications
Steven Krim1, Veronica Burnett1, Clement Marmorat1, Miriam Rafailovich1
1Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794
The goal of this research is to design a tissue scaffold of hyaluronic acid that is able to be 3D-printed. Presently, tissue engineering uses scaffolds made of synthetic polymers, but studies show that cell adhesion is much stronger in the presence of natural polymers such as hyaluronic acid. With the increased availability of 3D-printers in hospitals, scaffolds and tissue constructs are much more customizable for each patient. However, natural polymers are difficult to extrude through 3D-printers.
The focus of this research is to find the optimal concentration of hyaluronic acid that has a low enough viscosity to run through a 3D-printer but enough of the hydrogel for the gel to crosslink under ultraviolet light. Different molecular weights of hyaluronic acid were tested as well as different additives within the gel solution. It was found that a lower molecular weight of hyaluronic acid was less viscous than the higher molecular weight hyaluronic acid, but was still too viscous for a 3D-printer. To overcome this obstacle, magnesium chloride was added as a viscosity-lowering reagent, which made hyaluronic acid solution able to run through the 3D-printer. The dermal fibroblast cells were then tested for cell adhesion and attached to a hyaluronic acid - gelatin blend better than to pure hyaluronic acid. The hyaluronic acid - gelatin gels were also not cytotoxic as shown below.
In the future, the hyaluronic acid mixture will be sent through the 3D-printer to test how well it can be printed and crosslinked. Other tests include cell plating on gels that have been 3D-printed to test adhesion and to see if the cells will react differently to the 3D-printed surface.
 Möller, L. (2011). Preparation and evaluation of hydrogel-composites from methacrylated hyaluronic acid, alginate, and gelatin for tissue engineering [Scholarly project]. Retrieved September 15, 2015.
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