For any printing process, the quality and properties of the final product depend on the availability of suitable inks. In bioprinting for tissue engineering, inks need to have the right combination of printability as well as biological compatibility and suitable mechanical properties for the printed parts. Lee et al. developed an extracellular matrix–based polymer through the combination of gelatin methacryloyl- and methacryloyl-substituted recombinant human tropelastin. In addition to providing elasticity and resilience, tropoelastin provides cell-binding motifs and cell-signaling pathways. Printed vascularized tissue constructs were tested in vitro and in vivo and presented endothelium barrier function and spontaneous beating of cardiac cells, as well as minimal inflammatory response and in vivo degradation.
Adv. Mat. 10.1002/adma.202003915 (2020).