Emerging granular hydrogel bioinks to improve biological function in bioprinted constructs

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Department of Biomedical Engineering


Advancements in 3D bioprinting have been hindered by the trade-off between printability and biological functionality. Existing bioinks struggle to meet both requirements simultaneously. However, new types of bioinks composed of densely packed microgels promise to address this challenge. These bioinks possess intrinsic porosity, allowing for cell growth, oxygen and nutrient transport, and better immunomodulatory properties, leading to superior biological functions. In this review, we highlight key trends in the development of these granular bioinks. Using examples, we demonstrate how granular bioinks overcome the trade-off between printability and cell function. Granular bioinks show promise in 3D bioprinting, yet understanding their unique structure–property–function relationships is crucial to fully leverage the transformative capabilities of these new types of bioinks in bioprinting.

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Trends in Biotechnology