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Preparation of 3D Printed Polylactic Acid/Bacterial Cellulose Composite Scaffold for Tissue Engineering Applications

Bacterial cellulose (BC) has become a universal biomaterial owing to its intrinsic properties. BC fibers are composed of microfibers with a diameter of 3–4 nm into fiber bundles with a thickness of 40–60 nm, and interweave with each other to form a well-developed ultra-fine network structure. Polylactic acid (PLA) has good mechanical properties and excellent biocompatibility and biodegradability. Therefore, PLA has been widely applied in tissue engineering. Addressed herein is a novel type of PLA/BC (PLA/BC) composite scaffold prepared by 3D printing (3D), 3D modeling of the required porous membrane material support established in the computer, and decomposition of the model into 5 layer 20 μM sheets. The range of PLA loadings assessed in this work was 1.0 wt.%, 1.5 wt.%, and 2.0 wt.%, and its physicochemical properties and biological properties were characterized and evaluated. Tensile strength of PLA/BC composite scaffolds increased to 66.49 MPa compared to that of a pure BC film (25.61 MPa). Hydrophilicity was tunable with the amount of added PLA. In this paper, the effects of 3D round hole and stripe surface topology on cell growth behavior were characterized. Schwann cells (SCs) adhered to the surface of the 3D composite membrane successfully, and their proliferation rate on the surface of the regular circular pore and stripe structure was better than that of the smooth surface. Erythrocyte fixation and platelet adhesion experiments showed that the 3D composite scaffold had excellent blood compatibility. Further degradation studies showed that loose structures appeared after 1 week, and structural defects began after 3 weeks. The in vitro degradation results showed that the degradation rate of the BC membrane in simulated body fluid after 6 weeks was 14.38%, while the degradation rate of the PLA/BC composite scaffold was 18.75%.

Publication date: 06/11/2022

Author: Yadong Wu

Reference: doi: 10.3390/polym14214756

MDPI (polymers)


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 870292.