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Zein Increases the Cytoaffinity and Biodegradability of Scaffolds 3D-Printed with Zein and Poly(ε-caprolactone) Composite Ink

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journal contribution
posted on 15.05.2018, 00:00 by Linzhi Jing, Xiang Wang, Hang Liu, Yuyun Lu, Jinsong Bian, Jie Sun, Dejian Huang
Electrohydrodynamic printing (EHDP) has attracted extensive interests as a powerful technology to fabricate micro- to nano-scale fibrous scaffolds in a custom-tailored manner for biomedical applications. A few synthetic biopolymer inks are applicable to this EHDP technology, but the fabricated scaffolds suffered from low mechanical strength, biocompatibility, and biodegradability. In this study, a series of poly­(ε-caprolactone) (PCL)/zein composite inks were developed and their printability was examined on a solution-based EHDP system for scaffold fabrication. Multilayer grid scaffolds were manufactured by PCL, PCL/zein-10, and PCL/zein-20 inks, respectively and characterized. The mechanical strength of scaffolds printed by PCL/zein composite inks was remarkably enhanced in terms of Young’s modulus and yield stress. The enzyme-accelerated in vitro degradation study demonstrated that zein-containing scaffolds exhibited dose-responsive improvement on the degradation rate as evidenced by surface morphological change of fibers. Moreover, the biocompatibility of PCL/zein scaffolds, tested on mice embryonic fibroblast (NIH/3T3) and human nonsmall lung cancer cell (H1299), manifested better cell affinity. Our findings suggest that scaffolds fabricated by the solution-based EHDP with PCL/zein composite inks can significantly improve Young’s modulus, yield stress, biocompatibility, and biodegradability and have potential applications in drug delivery systems, 3D cell culture modeling, or tissue engineering.

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