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Keywords:

  • biomaterials;
  • bioprinting;
  • hydrogel;
  • gelation;
  • biocompatibility

Abstract

In the United States alone, there are approximately 500,000 burn injuries that require medical treatment every year. Limitations of current treatments necessitate the development of new methods that can be applied quicker, result in faster wound regeneration, and yield skin that is cosmetically similar to undamaged skin. The development of new hydrogel biomaterials and bioprinting deposition technologies has provided a platform to address this need. Herein we evaluated characteristics of twelve hydrogels to determine their suitability for bioprinting applications. We chose hydrogels that are either commercially available, or are commonly used for research purposes. We evaluated specific hydrogel properties relevant to bioprinting applications, specifically; gelation time, swelling or contraction, stability, biocompatibility and printability. Further, we described regulatory, commercial and financial aspects of each of the hydrogels. While many of the hydrogels screened may exhibit characteristics suitable for other applications, UV-crosslinked Extracel, a hyaluronic acid-based hydrogel, had many of the desired properties for our bioprinting application. Taken together with commercial availability, shelf life, potential for regulatory approval and ease of use, these materials hold the potential to be further developed into fast and effective wound healing treatments. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res Part A: 101A:272–284, 2013.