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3D bioprinting of structural proteins

Włodarczyk-Biegun, Małgorzata K., del Campo, Aránzazu
Biomaterials 2017 v.134 pp. 180-201
bioprinting, cell viability, collagen, crosslinking, fibrin, mixing, silk, structural proteins
3D bioprinting is a booming method to obtain scaffolds of different materials with predesigned and customized morphologies and geometries. In this review we focus on the experimental strategies and recent achievements in the bioprinting of major structural proteins (collagen, silk, fibrin), as a particularly interesting technology to reconstruct the biochemical and biophysical composition and hierarchical morphology of natural scaffolds. The flexibility in molecular design offered by structural proteins, combined with the flexibility in mixing, deposition, and mechanical processing inherent to bioprinting technologies, enables the fabrication of highly functional scaffolds and tissue mimics with a degree of complexity and organization which has only just started to be explored. Here we describe the printing parameters and physical (mechanical) properties of bioinks based on structural proteins, including the biological function of the printed scaffolds. We describe applied printing techniques and cross-linking methods, highlighting the modifications implemented to improve scaffold properties. The used cell types, cell viability, and possible construct applications are also reported. We envision that the application of printing technologies to structural proteins will enable unprecedented control over their supramolecular organization, conferring printed scaffolds biological properties and functions close to natural systems.