Graphene oxide/alginate composites as novel bioinks for three-dimensional mesenchymal stem cell printing and bone regeneration applications†
Three-dimensional (3D) cell printing is a versatile technique enabling the creation of 3D constructs containing hydrogel and cells in the desired shape or pattern. Bioinks exhibiting appropriate mechanical properties and biological activities to support cell growth and/or differentiation toward a specific lineage play critical roles in 3D cell printing and tissue engineering applications. Herein, we explored alginate/graphene oxide (GO) composites as bioinks for their potential to improve printability, structural stability, and osteogenic activities for osteogenic tissue engineering applications. The addition of GO (0.05–1.0 mg mL−1) to 3% alginate significantly enhanced the printing performances of the alginate bioink. In addition, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) printed with alginate/GO showed good proliferation and higher survival in an oxidative stress environment. The 3D scaffolds printed with MSCs and alginate/GO demonstrated significantly enhanced osteogenic differentiation compared with those printed with MSCs and alginate. Overall, a bioink of 3% alginate and 0.5 mg mL−1 GO showed the most balanced characteristics in terms of printability, structural stability, and osteogenic induction of the printed MSCs. Alginate/GO composite bioinks will be useful for bioprinting research for various tissue engineering applications.