Electromagnetic field-assisted cell-laden 3D printed poloxamer-407 hydrogel for enhanced osteogenesis†
3D bioprinted hydrogel has gained enormous attention, especially in tissue engineering, owing to its attractive structure and excellent biocompatibility. In this study, we demonstrated that 3D bioprinted cell-laden ‘thermoresponsive’ poloxamer-407 (P407) gels have the potential to stimulate osteogenic differentiation of apical papilla stem cells (SCAPs) under the influence of low voltage–frequency (5 V–1 Hz, 0.62 mT) electromagnetic fields (EMFs). SCAPs were initially used for cell-laden 3D printing to biomimic the apical papilla of human teeth. The developed hydrogel exhibited higher mechanical strength as well as good printability, showing high-quality micro-architecture. Moreover, the as-printed hydrogels (5 mm × 5 mm) were loaded with plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) for testing the combined effect of PAI-1 and EMFs on SCAP differentiation. Interestingly, the 3D hydrogels showed improved viability and differentiation of SCAPs under EMFs' influence as examined by live/dead assay and alizarin Red-S staining, respectively. Therefore, our results confirmed that P407 hydrogels are non-toxic for encapsulation of SCAPs, yielding high cell viability and accelerate the cell migration potential. The 3D hydrogels with PAI-1 exhibited high mRNA expression levels for osteogenic/odontogenic gene markers (ALP, Col-1, DSPP, and DMP-1) vis-à-vis control after 14 days of in vitro culture. Our findings suggest that 3D bioprinted P407 hydrogels are biocompatible for SCAP encapsulation, and the applied low voltage–frequency EMFs could effectively improve dental tissue regeneration, particularly for oral applications.