3D Printed Composite Scaffolds of GelMA and Hydroxyapatite Nanopowders Doped with Mg/Zn Ions to Evaluate the Expression of Genes and Proteins of Osteogenic Markers
As bone diseases and defects are constantly increasing, the improvement of bone regeneration techniques is constantly evolving. The main purpose of this scientific study was to obtain and investigate biomaterials that can be used in tissue engineering. In this respect, nanocomposite inks of GelMA modified with hydroxyapatite (HA) substituted with Mg and Zn were developed. Using a 3D bioprinting technique, scaffolds with varying shapes and dimensions were obtained. The following analyses were used in order to study the nanocomposite materials and scaffolds obtained by the 3D printing technique: Fourier transform infrared spectrometry and X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and micro-computed tomography (Micro-CT). The swelling and dissolvability of each scaffold were also studied. Biological studies, osteopontin (OPN), and osterix (OSX) gene expression evaluations were confirmed at the protein levels, using immunofluorescence coupled with confocal microscopy. These findings suggest the positive effect of magnesium and zinc on the osteogenic differentiation process. OSX fluorescent staining also confirmed the capacity of GelMA-HM5 and GelMA-HZ5 to support osteogenesis, especially of the magnesium enriched scaffold.