The extracellular matrix (ECM) is known to provide instructive cues for cell attachment, proliferation, differentiation, and ultimately tissue regeneration. The use of decellularized ECM scaffolds for regenerative-medicine approaches is rapidly expanding. In this study, cartilage acellular matrix (CAM)-based bioink was developed to fabricate functional biomolecule-containing scaffolds. The CAM provides an adequate cartilage tissue–favorable environment for chondrogenic differentiation of cells. Conventional manufacturing techniques such as salt leaching, solvent casting, gas forming, and freeze drying when applied to CAM-based scaffolds cannot precisely control the scaffold geometry for mimicking tissue shape. As an alternative to the scaffold fabrication methods, 3D printing was recently introduced in the field of tissue engineering. 3D printing may better control the internal microstructure and external appearance because of the computer-assisted construction process. Hence, applications of the 3D printing technology to tissue engineering are rapidly proliferating. Therefore, printable ECM-based bioink should be developed for 3D structure stratification. The aim of this study was to develop printable natural CAM bioink for 3D printing of a tissue of irregular shape. Silk fibroin was chosen to support the printing of the CAM powder because it can be physically cross-linked and its viscosity can be easily controlled. The newly developed CAM-silk bioink was evaluated regarding printability, cell viability, and tissue differentiation. Moreover, we successfully demonstrated 3D printing of a cartilage-shaped scaffold using only this CAM-silk bioink. Future studies should assess the efficacy of in vivo implantation of 3D-printed cartilage-shaped scaffolds.
Extracellular matrix bioink Cartilage matrix Silk fibroin 3D printing Trochlea
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This research was supported by a grant of the Korea Health Technology R&D Project through the Korea Health Industry Development Institute (KHIDI), funded by the Ministry of Health and Welfare, Republic of Korea (HI14C2143 and HI14C0744).
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflicts of interest
The authors have no financial conflicts of interest.
This research protocol was approved by the IACUC of Ajou University (IACUC no.2013-0045).
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