Theranostics 2022; 12(9):4051-4066. doi:10.7150/thno.73146 This issue

Research Paper

Highly elastic 3D-printed gelatin/HA/placental-extract scaffolds for bone tissue engineering

JiUn Lee1, Dongyun Kim1, Chul Ho Jang2,✉, Geun Hyung Kim1,3,✉

1. Department of Biomechatronic Engineering, College of Biotechnology and Bioengineering, Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU), 16419, Suwon, Republic of Korea
2. Department of Otolaryngology, Chonnam National University Medical School, Gwangju 61186, Republic of Korea
3. Biomedical Institute for Convergence at SKKU (BICS), Sungkyunkwan University, Suwon 16419, Republic of Korea

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Lee J, Kim D, Jang CH, Kim GH. Highly elastic 3D-printed gelatin/HA/placental-extract scaffolds for bone tissue engineering. Theranostics 2022; 12(9):4051-4066. doi:10.7150/thno.73146. Available from

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Graphic abstract

Bioengineering scaffolds have been improved to achieve efficient regeneration of various damaged tissues. In this study, we attempted to fabricate mechanically and biologically activated 3D printed scaffold in which porous gelatin/hydroxyapatite (G/H) as a matrix material provided outstanding mechanical properties with recoverable behavior, and human placental extracts (hPE) embedded in the scaffold were used as bioactive components.

Methods: Various cell types (human adipose-derived stem cells; hASCs, pre-osteoblast; MC3T3-E1, human endothelial cell line; EA.hy926, and human dermal fibroblast; hDFs) were used to assess the effect of the hPE on cellular responses. High weight fraction (~ 70 wt%) of hydroxyapatite (HA) in a gelatin solution supplemented with glycerol was used for the G/H scaffold fabrication, and the scaffolds were immersed in hPE for the embedding (G/H/hPE scaffold). The osteogenic abilities of the scaffolds were investigated in cultured cells (hASCs) assaying for ALP activity and expression of osteogenic genes. For the in vivo test, the G/H and G/H/hPE scaffolds were implanted in the rat mastoid obliteration model.

Results: The G/H/hPE scaffold presented unique elastic recoverable properties, which are important for efficient usage of implantable scaffolds. The effects of G/H and G/H/hPE scaffold on various in vitro cell-activities including non-toxicity, biocompatibility, and cell proliferation were investigated. The in vitro results indicated that proliferation (G/H = 351.1 ± 13.3%, G/H/hPE = 430.9 ± 8.7% at day 14) and expression of osteogenic markers (ALP: 3.4-fold, Runx2: 3.9-fold, BMP2: 1.7-fold, OPN: 2.4-fold, and OCN: 4.8-fold at day 21) of hASCs grown in the G/H/hPE scaffold were significantly enhanced compared with that in cells grown in the G/H scaffold. In addition, bone formation was also observed in an in vivo model using rat mastoid obliteration.

Conclusion: In vitro and in vivo results suggested that the G/H/hPE scaffold is a potential candidate for use in bone tissue engineering.

Keywords: gelatin, placental-extracts, scaffold, bone, tissue engineering