Ege and Hasirci (2023), ACS Appl. Bio Mater.
Ege, D., Hasirci, V. (2023) Is 3D Printing Promising for Osteochondral Tissue Regeneration?, ACS Applied Bio Materials. DOI: 10.1021/acsabm.3c00093
Osteochondral tissue regeneration is quite difficult to achieve due to the complexity of its organization. In the design of these complex multilayer structures, a fabrication method, 3D printing, started to be employed, especially by using extrusion, stereolithography and inkjet printing approaches. In this paper, the designs are discussed including biphasic, triphasic, and gradient structures which aim to mimic the cartilage and the calcified cartilage and the whole osteochondral tissue closely. In the first section of the review paper, 3D printing of hydrogels including gelatin methacryloyl (GelMa), alginate, and polyethylene glycol diacrylate (PEGDA) are discussed. However, their physical and biological properties need to be augmented, and this generally is achieved by blending the hydrogel with other, more durable, less hydrophilic, polymers. These scaffolds are very suitable to carry growth factors, such as TGF-β1, to further stimulate chondrogenesis. The bone layer is mimicked by printing calcium phosphates (CaPs) or bioactive glasses together with the hydrogels or as a component of another polymer layer. The current research findings indicate that polyester (i.e. polycaprolactone (PCL), polylactic acid (PLA) and poly(lactide-co-glycolide) (PLGA)) reinforced hydrogels may more successfully mimic the complex structure of osteochondral tissue. Moreover, more recent printing methods such as melt electrowriting (MEW), are being used to integrate polyester fibers to enhance the mechanical properties of hydrogels. Additionally, polyester scaffolds that are 3D printed without hydrogels are discussed after the hydrogel-based scaffolds. In this review paper, the relevant studies are analyzed and discussed, and future work is recommended with support of tables of designed scaffolds. The outcome of the survey of the field is that 3D printing has significant potential to contribute to osteochondral tissue repair.