Hydrogels have been widely used as extracellular matrix materials in various three-dimensional bioprinting applications. However, they possess limitations such as insufficient mechanical integrity and strength, especially in the vascular applications requiring suture retention and tolerance of systemic intraluminal pressure. Interpenetrating network hydrogels are unique mixtures of two separate hydrogels with enhanced properties. This paper has demonstrated the fabrication of three-dimensional cellular constructs based on gelatin methacrylate–alginate interpenetrating network hydrogels using a microgel-assisted bioprinting method. Filament formation was investigated in terms of the filament diameter under different nozzle speed and dispensing pressure, and a phase diagram to identify the optimal conditions for continuous and uniform filaments was prepared. Three-dimensional hollow cellular constructs were fabricated and the cell viability was 75% after 24-hour incubation. The post-printing properties were characterized including mechanical properties, degradation and swelling properties, and pore size. The interpenetrating network hydrogels with different concentrations were compared with their individual components. It is found that the interpenetrating network hydrogels exhibit stronger mechanical properties, faster degradation and larger pore sizes than their individual components.
- biomechanical properties
- gelatin methacrylate
- interpenetrating network hydrogel
- sodium alginate