Annals of Biomedical Engineering

, Volume 45, Issue 1, pp 210–223 | Cite as

Alginate Sulfate–Nanocellulose Bioinks for Cartilage Bioprinting Applications

  • Michael Müller
  • Ece Öztürk
  • Øystein Arlov
  • Paul Gatenholm
  • Marcy Zenobi-WongEmail author
Additive Manufacturing of Biomaterials, Tissues, and Organs


One of the challenges of bioprinting is to identify bioinks which support cell growth, tissue maturation, and ultimately the formation of functional grafts for use in regenerative medicine. The influence of this new biofabrication technology on biology of living cells, however, is still being evaluated. Recently we have identified a mitogenic hydrogel system based on alginate sulfate which potently supports chondrocyte phenotype, but is not printable due to its rheological properties (no yield point). To convert alginate sulfate to a printable bioink, it was combined with nanocellulose, which has been shown to possess very good printability. The alginate sulfate/nanocellulose ink showed good printing properties and the non-printed bioink material promoted cell spreading, proliferation, and collagen II synthesis by the encapsulated cells. When the bioink was printed, the biological performance of the cells was highly dependent on the nozzle geometry. Cell spreading properties were maintained with the lowest extrusion pressure and shear stress. However, extruding the alginate sulfate/nanocellulose bioink and chondrocytes significantly compromised cell proliferation, particularly when using small diameter nozzles and valves.


Bioprinting Nanocellulose Alginate sulfate Cartilage tissue engineering 



This work was supported by ETH Research Grant ETH-23 14-1, the Swiss National Foundation (315230_159783 and 315230_143667), FIFA/F-MARC and EU program Eureka and Vinnova. The authors acknowledge support of the Scientific Center for Optical and Electron Microscopy (ScopeM) of ETH Zurich. The II-II6B3 col 2 antibody developed by T.F. Linsenmayer and the proteoglycan hyaluronic acid-binding region antibody (12/21/1-C-6) developed by B. Caterson were obtained from the Developmental Studies Hybridoma Bank, created by the NICHD of the NIH and maintained at The University of Iowa, Department of Biology, Iowa City, IA 52242. We also thank Daniel Hägg, Theo Kalogeropoulus, Hector Martinez and Athanasios Mantas for their help with this project.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 13 kb)
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Supplementary material 2 (PDF 1286 kb)


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Copyright information

© Biomedical Engineering Society 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cartilage Engineering + Regeneration Laboratory, Department of Health Sciences & TechnologyETH ZürichZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Department of BiotechnologyNorwegian University of Science and TechnologyTrondheimNorway
  3. 3.Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Wallenberg Wood Science Center and 3D Bioprinting CenterChalmers University of TechnologyGothenburgSweden

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