Biomechanical and Biological Performances of Diels-Alder Crosslinked Thermogelling Bioink


Hydrogels are key components in bioink formulations to ensure printability and stability in biofabrication. In this study a well-known post-polymerization modification approach is introduced into thermogelling diblock copolymers, comprising poly(2-methyl-2-oxazoline) and thermoresponsive poly(2-n-propyl-2-oxazine). While the thermogelling and shear-thinning properties allow excellent printability, trigger-less cell-friendly Diels-Alder click-chemistry yields long-term shape-fidelity. The introduced platform enables easy incorporation of cell-binding moieties (RGD-peptide) for cellular interaction. The hydrogel was functionalized with RGD-peptides using thiol-maleimide chemistry and growth as well as morphology of fibroblast seeded on top of the hydrogels confirmed the cell adhesion facilitated by the peptides. Finally, bioink formulations were tested for biocompatibility by incorporating fibroblasts homogenously inside polymer solution pre-printing and exhibited good cytocompatibility after the printing process and crosslinking. The established bioink system combining a two-step approach by physical precursor gelation followed by additional chemical stabilization offers a broad versatility for further biomechanical adaptation or bioresponsive peptide modification.

Version notes

first version submitted for peer review


Supplementary material

Diels-Alder crosslinking of a thermogelling hydrogel bioink ChemRxiv-SI