Zein Increases the Cytoaffinity and Biodegradability of Scaffolds 3D-Printed with Zein and Poly(ϵ-caprolactone) Composite Ink

Linzhi Jing, Xiang Wang, Hang Liu, Yuyun Lu, Jinsong Bian, Jie Sun*, Dejian Huang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)


Electrohydrodynamic printing (EHDP) has attracted extensive interests as a powerful technology to fabricate micro- to nano-scale fibrous scaffolds in a custom-tailored manner for biomedical applications. A few synthetic biopolymer inks are applicable to this EHDP technology, but the fabricated scaffolds suffered from low mechanical strength, biocompatibility, and biodegradability. In this study, a series of poly(ϵ-caprolactone) (PCL)/zein composite inks were developed and their printability was examined on a solution-based EHDP system for scaffold fabrication. Multilayer grid scaffolds were manufactured by PCL, PCL/zein-10, and PCL/zein-20 inks, respectively and characterized. The mechanical strength of scaffolds printed by PCL/zein composite inks was remarkably enhanced in terms of Young's modulus and yield stress. The enzyme-accelerated in vitro degradation study demonstrated that zein-containing scaffolds exhibited dose-responsive improvement on the degradation rate as evidenced by surface morphological change of fibers. Moreover, the biocompatibility of PCL/zein scaffolds, tested on mice embryonic fibroblast (NIH/3T3) and human nonsmall lung cancer cell (H1299), manifested better cell affinity. Our findings suggest that scaffolds fabricated by the solution-based EHDP with PCL/zein composite inks can significantly improve Young's modulus, yield stress, biocompatibility, and biodegradability and have potential applications in drug delivery systems, 3D cell culture modeling, or tissue engineering.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18551-18559
Number of pages9
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jun 2018


  • Zein
  • composite ink
  • electrohydrodynamic printing
  • poly(ϵ-caprolactone)
  • scaffold

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