Collagen Hybrid Formulations for the 3D Printing of Nanostructured Bone Scaffolds: An Optimized Genipin-Crosslinking Strategy

Nanomaterials 10(9), (2020)
Giorgia Montalbano, Giorgia Borciani, Giorgia Cerqueni, Caterina Licini, Federica Banche-Niclot, Davide Janner, Stefania Sola, Sonia Fiorilli, Monica Mattioli-Belmonte, Gabriela Ciapetti and Chiara Vitale-Brovarone

Bone-tissue regeneration induced by biomimetic bioactive materials is the most promising approach alternative to the clinical ones used to treat bone loss caused by trauma or diseases such as osteoporosis. The goal is to design nanostructured bioactive constructs able to reproduce the physiological environment: By mimicking the natural features of bone tissue, the cell behavior during the regeneration process may be addressed. At present, 3D-printing technologies are the only techniques able to design complex structures avoiding constraints of final shape and porosity. However, this type of biofabrication requires complex optimization of biomaterial formulations in terms of specific rheological and mechanical properties while preserving high biocompatibility. In this work, we combined nano-sized mesoporous bioactive glasses enriched with strontium ions with type I collagen, to formulate a bioactive ink for 3D-printing technologies. Moreover, to avoid the premature release of strontium ions within the crosslinking medium and to significantly increase the material mechanical and thermal stability, we applied an optimized chemical treatment using ethanol-dissolved genipin solutions. The high biocompatibility of the hybrid system was confirmed by using MG-63 and Saos-2 osteoblast-like cell lines, further highlighting the great potential of the innovative nanocomposite for the design of bone-like scaffolds.