Stabilizing gelatin-based bioinks under physiological conditions by incorporation of ethylene-glycol-conjugated Fmoc-FF peptides

Francesca Netti, Moran Aviv, Yoav Dan, Safra Rudnick-Glick, Michal Halperin-Sternfeld, Lihi Adler-Abramovich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Over the last decade, three-dimensional (3D) printing technologies have attracted the interest of researchers due to the possibility of fabricating tissue- and organ-like structures with similarities to the organ of interest. One of the most widely used materials for the fabrication of bioinks is gelatin (Gel) due to its excellent biocompatibility properties. However, in order to fabricate stable scaffolds under physiological conditions, the most common approach is to use gelatin methacrylate (GelMA) that allows the crosslinking and therefore the stabilization of the hydrogel through UV crosslinking. The crosslinking process can be harmful to cells thus decreasing total cell viability. To overcome the need for post-printing crosslinking, a new approach of bioink formulation was studied, incorporating the Fluorenylmethoxycarbonyl diphenylalanine (Fmoc-FF) peptide into the Gel bioink. However, although Fmoc-FF possesses excellent mechanical properties, the lack of elasticity and viscosity makes it unsuitable for 3D-printing. Here, we demonstrate that covalent conjugation of two different ethylene glycol (EG) motifs to the Fmoc-FF peptide increases the hydrophilicity and elasticity properties, which are essential for 3D-printing. This new approach for bioink formulation avoids the need for any post-printing manufacturing processes, such as chemical or UV crosslinking.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8525-8533
Number of pages9
Issue number23
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the European Research Council (ERC), under the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program (grant agreement no. 948102) (L. A.-A.), the ISRAEL SCIENCE FOUNDATION (grant no. 1732/17) (L. A.-A.) and the Ministry of Science, Technology & Space, Israel (L. A.-A.). The authors acknowledge the Chaoul Center for Nanoscale Systems of Tel Aviv University for the use of instruments and staff assistance. We thank the members of the Adler-Abramovich group for the helpful discussions.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Royal Society of Chemistry


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