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Macromol Biosci. 2020 Feb 20:e1900364. doi: 10.1002/mabi.201900364. [Epub ahead of print]

Evaluation of 3D Printed Gelatin-Based Scaffolds with Varying Pore Size for MSC-Based Adipose Tissue Engineering.

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Polymer Chemistry & Biomaterials Group, Centre of Macromolecular Chemistry (CMaC), Ghent University, Krijgslaan 281, S4-Bis, 9000, Ghent, Belgium.
Brussels Photonics, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Pleinlaan 2, 1050, Brussels, Belgium.
Julius Wolff Institute for Biomechanics and Musculoskeletal Regeneration, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Augustenburger Platz 1, 13353, Berlin, Germany.
Berlin-Brandenburg Center and School for Regenerative Therapies, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Augustenburger Platz 1, 13353, Berlin, Germany.
Department of Bioengineering, University of Pennsylvania, 210 South 33rd Street, Philadelphia, 19104, USA.


Adipose tissue engineering aims to provide solutions to patients who require tissue reconstruction following mastectomies or other soft tissue trauma. Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) robustly differentiate into the adipogenic lineage and are attractive candidates for adipose tissue engineering. This work investigates whether pore size modulates adipogenic differentiation of MSCs toward identifying optimal scaffold pore size and whether pore size modulates spatial infiltration of adipogenically differentiated cells. To assess this, extrusion-based 3D printing is used to fabricate photo-crosslinkable gelatin-based scaffolds with pore sizes in the range of 200-600 µm. The adipogenic differentiation of MSCs seeded onto these scaffolds is evaluated and robust lipid droplet formation is observed across all scaffold groups as early as after day 6 of culture. Expression of adipogenic genes on scaffolds increases significantly over time, compared to TCP controls. Furthermore, it is found that the spatial distribution of cells is dependent on the scaffold pore size, with larger pores leading to a more uniform spatial distribution of adipogenically differentiated cells. Overall, these data provide first insights into the role of scaffold pore size on MSC-based adipogenic differentiation and contribute toward the rational design of biomaterials for adipose tissue engineering in 3D volumetric spaces.


adipogenic differentiation; extrusion-based 3D-printing; hydrogel; mesenchymal stromal cells; pore size


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