Suture fiber reinforcement of a 3d printed gelatin scaffold for its potential application in soft tissue engineering

Dong Jin Choi, Kyoung Choi, Sang Jun Park, Young Jin Kim, Seok Chung, Chun Ho Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Gelatin has excellent biological properties, but its poor physical properties are a major obstacle to its use as a biomaterial ink. These disadvantages not only worsen the printability of gelatin biomaterial ink, but also reduce the dimensional stability of its 3D scaffolds and limit its application in the tissue engineering field. Herein, biodegradable suture fibers were added into a gelatin biomaterial ink to improve the printability, mechanical strength, and dimensional stability of the 3D printed scaffolds. The suture fiber reinforced gelatin 3D scaffolds were fabricated using the thermo-responsive properties of gelatin under optimized 3D printing conditions (−10C cryogenic plate, 40–80 kPa pneumatic pressure, and 9 mm/s printing speed), and were crosslinked using EDC/NHS to maintain their 3D structures. Scanning electron microscopy images revealed that the morphologies of the 3D printed scaffolds maintained their 3D structure after crosslinking. The addition of 0.5% (w/v) of suture fibers increased the printing accuracy of the 3D printed scaffolds to 97%. The suture fibers also increased the mechanical strength of the 3D printed scaffolds by up to 6-fold, and the degradation rate could be controlled by the suture fiber content. In in vitro cell studies, DNA assay results showed that human dermal fibroblasts’ proliferation rate of a 3D printed scaffold containing 0.5% suture fiber was 10% higher than that of a 3D printed scaffold without suture fibers after 14 days of culture. Interestingly, the supplement of suture fibers into gelatin biomaterial ink was able to minimize the cell-mediated contraction of the cell cultured 3D scaffolds over the cell culture period. These results show that advanced biomaterial inks can be developed by supplementing biodegradable fibers to improve the poor physical properties of natural polymer-based biomaterial inks.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11600
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Nov 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (Development of radiation-induced nanocarriers for radio-sensitive tumor microenvironment tracking, NRF2020M2D9A3094178), the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning of Korea (Development of Bio 3D phantom Technology for Radiation Cancer Treatment, 2020M2D9A3094170), and the Republic of Korea Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (The manufacturing technology development of collagen regenerated fiber, 20000519).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • 3D printing
  • 3D scaffold
  • Gelatin biomaterial ink
  • Suture fiber
  • Tissue engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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