MedComm-Biomaterials and Applications | Evaluation of cell-laden three-dimensional bioprinted polymer composite scaffolds based on synthesized photocrosslinkable poly(ethylene glycol) dimethacrylate with different molecular weights


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Schematic representation of bioprinting using poly(ethylene glycol) dimethacrylate (PEGDMA). LAP, lithium phenyl-2,4,6-trimethyl benzoyl phosphinate.

This manuscript aims to three-dimensional bioprint and evaluate new polymer composite scaffolds based on synthesized poly(ethylene glycol) dimethacrylate (PEGDMA) as well as methyl cellulose and gelatin. The PEGDMA was synthesized by a simple microwave-assisted method using three distinct molecular weights (MWs) of poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG), 3, 6, and 12 kDa, and methacrylic anhydride. The percent functionalization of the PEGDMA was analyzed using the nuclear magnetic resonance spectrum, and the theoretical calculations indicated that over 50% of methacrylation was achieved in all samples, with the PEGDMA synthesized from 6 kDa PEG surpassing 66% methacrylation. These three PEGDMA-based bioinks were investigated for their suitability for bioprinting scaffolds. It was observed that lower MW PEGDMA resulted in a higher degree of crosslinking, leading to more stable composite scaffolds. However, higher crosslinking degree did not support long-term cell viability when encapsulated with cells. Higher MW PEGDMA showed higher cell viability over time though overall stability was lower. Synthesized PEGDMA with 6 kDa PEG showed both stability and long-term cell viability after postprinting. Over 80% of cell viability was maintained for a 7-day study period, showing potential use in tissue engineering applications as a cell delivery vehicle.

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