Fabrication of a Polycaprolactone/Alginate Bipartite Hybrid Scaffold for Osteochondral Tissue Using a Three-Dimensional Bioprinting System
Osteochondral defects, including damage to both the articular cartilage and the subchondral bone, are challenging to repair. Although many technological advancements have been made in recent years, there are technical difficulties in the engineering of cartilage and bone layers, simultaneously. Moreover, there is a great need for a valuable in vitro platform enabling the assessment of osteochondral tissues to reduce pre-operative risk. Three-dimensional (3D) bioprinting systems may be a promising approach for fabricating human tissues and organs. Here, we aimed to develop a polycaprolactone (PCL)/alginate bipartite hybrid scaffold using a multihead 3D bioprinting system. The hybrid scaffold was composed of PCL, which could improve the mechanical properties of the construct, and alginate, encapsulating progenitor cells that could differentiate into cartilage and bone. To differentiate the bipartite hybrid scaffold into osteochondral tissue, a polydimethylsiloxane coculture system for osteochondral tissue (PCSOT) was designed and developed. Based on evaluation of the biological performance of the novel hybrid scaffold, the PCL/alginate bipartite scaffold was successfully fabricated; importantly, our findings suggest that this PCSOT system may be applicable as an in vitro platform for osteochondral tissue engineering.