3D reactive inkjet printing of poly-ɛ-lysine/gellan gum hydrogels for potential corneal constructs

Duffy, Georgia L ORCID: 0000-0002-6272-0471, Liang, He, Williams, Rachel L ORCID: 0000-0002-1954-0256, Wellings, Don A and Black, Kate ORCID: 0000-0003-3638-6518
(2021) 3D reactive inkjet printing of poly-ɛ-lysine/gellan gum hydrogels for potential corneal constructs. Materials Science and Engineering: C, 131. p. 112476.

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Corneal opacities are the 4th leading cause of blindness, and the only current treatment method is the replacement of damaged tissue with a donor cornea. The worldwide shortage of donor eye bank tissue has influenced research into biomaterial substrates for both partial and full thickness corneal implantation. Here, polymer hydrogels based on natural peptides, poly-ɛ-lysine and gellan gum, can be manufactured using reactive inkjet printing (RIJ). The inks used for printing were optimised based on their rheological properties. Printing alternating layers of ink forms a unique surface pattern, based on the immediate formation of ionic bonds between polymers of opposing charges. This surface pattern resembles a repeating honeycomb-like structure, visible by both optical and scanning electron microscopy. The structure of the printed hydrogels can be modified to include pores, a feature of interest for the tissue engineering of full thickness corneal constructs. Printed poly-ɛ-lysine/gellan gum hydrogels demonstrated a transparency of 80% and cyto-compatibility with both corneal epithelial and endothelial cells. Both corneal cell types demonstrated cell attachment across the surface of the printed hydrogel arrays, displaying their typical cell morphology. This gives confidence of the cyto-compatibility of these hydrogels in vitro. Reactive inkjet printing can produce 3D structures with a high resolution, producing printed tracks in the micron range. Additionally, RIJ demonstrates versatility, as constructs can be tailored to meet various dimension and thickness requirements. Furthermore, this work demonstrates for the first time that reactive inkjet printing can been used to produce hydrogel constructs based on these two inks, with the aim of producing constructs for corneal tissue engineering.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Reactive inkjet printing, Hydrogels, Poly-epsilon-lysine, Gellan gum, Cornea, Tissue engineering
Divisions: Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences > Institute of Life Courses and Medical Sciences
Faculty of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 09 Nov 2021 10:02
Last Modified: 18 Jan 2023 21:25
DOI: 10.1016/j.msec.2021.112476
Related URLs:
URI: https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/3142955