Fabrication of scalable tissue engineering scaffolds with dual-pore microarchitecture by combining 3D printing and particle leaching

Soumyaranjan Mohanty, Kuldeep Kuldeep, Arto Heiskanen, Jon Trifol Guzman, Peter Szabo, Martin Dufva, Jenny Emnéus, Anders Wolff

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Limitations in controlling scaffold architecture using traditional fabrication techniques are a problem when constructing engineered tissues/organs. Recently, integration of two pore architectures to generate dual-pore scaffolds with tailored physical properties has attracted wide attention in tissue engineering community. Such scaffolds features primary structured pores which can efficiently enhance nutrient/oxygen supply to the surrounding, in combination with secondary random pores, which give high surface area for cell adhesion and proliferation. Here, we present a new technique to fabricate dual-pore scaffolds for various tissue engineering applications where 3D printing of poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) mould is combined with salt leaching process. In this technique the sacrificial PVA mould, determining the structured pore architecture, was filled with salt crystals to define the random pore regions of the scaffold. After crosslinking the casted polymer the combined PVA-salt mould was dissolved in water. The technique has advantages over previously reported ones, such as automated assembly of the sacrificial mould, and precise control over pore architecture/dimensions by 3D printing parameters. In this study, polydimethylsiloxane and biodegradable poly(ϵ-caprolactone)were used for fabrication.However,we showthat this technique is also suitable for other biocompatible/biodegradable polymers. Various physical and mechanical properties of the dual-pore scaffolds were compared with control scaffolds with either only structured or only random pores, fabricated using previously reported methods. The fabricated dual-pore scaffolds supported high cell density, due to the random pores, in combination with uniform cell distribution throughout the scaffold, and higher cell proliferation and viability due to efficient nutrient/oxygen transport through the structured pores. In conclusion, the described fabrication technique is rapid, inexpensive, scalable, and compatible with different polymers, making it suitable for engineering various large scale organs/tissues.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMaterials Science and Engineering C: Materials for Biological Applications
Pages (from-to)180-189
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Tissue engineering
  • 3D printing
  • Salt leaching
  • Scaffolds
  • Structured pores
  • Random pores
  • Dual pores


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