Additive-Free Gelatine-Based Devices for Chondral Tissue Regeneration: Shaping Process Comparison among Mould Casting and Three-Dimensional Printing

Margherita Montanari, Alex Sangiorgi, Elisabetta Campodoni, Giada Bassi, Davide Gardini, Monica Montesi, Silvia Panseri, Alessandra Sanson, Anna Tampieri, Monica Sandri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Gelatine is a well-known and extensively studied biopolymer, widely used in recent decades to create biomaterials in many different ways, exploiting its molecular resemblance with collagen, the main constituent of the extra-cellular matrix, from which it is derived. Many have employed this biopolymer in tissue engineering and chemically modified (e.g., gelatin methacryloyl) or blended it with other polymers (e.g., alginate) to modulate or increase its performances and printability. Nevertheless, little is reported about its use as a stand-alone material. Moreover, despite the fact that multiple works have been reported on the realization of mould-casted and three-dimensional printed scaffolds in tissue engineering, a clear comparison among these two shaping processes, towards a comparable workflow starting from the same material, has never been published. Herein, we report the use of gelatine as stand-alone material, not modified, blended, or admixed to be processed or crosslinked, for the realization of suitable scaffolds for tissue engineering, towards the two previously mentioned shaping processes. To make the comparison reliable, the same pre-process (e.g., the gelatin solution preparation) and post-process (e.g., freeze-drying and crosslinking) steps were applied. In this study, gelatine solution was firstly rheologically characterized to find a formulation suitable for being processed with both the shaping processes selected. The realized scaffolds were then morphologically, phisico-chemically, mechanically, and biologically characterized to determine and compare their performances. Despite the fact that the same starting material was employed, as well as the same pre-and post-process steps, the two groups resulted, for most aspects, in diametrically opposed characteristics. The mould-casted scaffolds that resulted were characterized by small, little-interconnected, and random porosity, high resistance to compression and slow cell colonization, while the three-dimensional printed scaffolds displayed big, well-interconnected, and geometrically defined porosity, high elasticity and recover ability after compression, as well as fast and deep cell colonization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1036
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 4 2022


  • 3D printing
  • Biopolymers
  • Cartilage
  • Chondral regeneration
  • Mould casting
  • Tissue engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Polymers and Plastics


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