A versatile biomaterial ink platform for the melt electrowriting of chemically-crosslinked hydrogels†
In this study, we designed a novel biomaterial ink platform based on hydrophilic poly(2-ethyl-2-oxazine) (PEtOzi) specifically for melt electrowriting (MEW). This material crosslinks spontaneously after processing via dynamic Diels–Alder click chemistry. These direct-written microperiodic structures rapidly swell in water to yield thermoreversible hydrogels. These hydrogels are robust enough for repeated aspiration and ejection through a cannula without structural damage, despite their high water content of 84%. Moreover, the scaffolds retain functional groups for modification using click chemistry and therefore can be readily functionalized as demonstrated using fluorophores and peptides to facilitate visualization and cell attachment. The PEtOzi hydrogel developed here is compatible with confocal imaging and staining protocols for cells. In summary, an advanced material platform based on PEtOzi is reported that is compatible with MEW and results in functionalizable chemically crosslinked microperiodic hydrogels.