In recent times, tremendous progress has been evidenced by the advancements in various methods of generating three-dimensional (3D) porous scaffolds. However, the applicability of most of the traditional approaches intended for generating these biomimetic scaffolds is limited due to poor resolution and strict requirements in choosing materials. In this work, we fabricated 3D porous scaffolds based on the composite inks of gelatin (Gel), nano-hydroxyapatite (n-HA), and poly(lactide-co
-glycolide) (PLGA) using an innovative hybrid strategy based on 3D printing and freeze-drying technologies for bone tissue engineering. Initially, the PLGA scaffolds were printed using the 3D printing method, and they were then coated with the Gel/n-HA complex, yielding the Gel/n-HA/PLGA scaffolds. These Gel/n-HA/PLGA scaffolds with exceptional biodegradation, mechanical properties, and biocompatibility have enabled osteoblasts (MC3T3-E1) for their convenient adhesion as a layer and have efficiently promoted their growth, as well as differentiation. We further demonstrated the bone growth by measuring the particular biomarkers that act as key players in the ossification process (i.e., alkaline phosphatase (ALP), osteocalcin (OC), and collagen type-I (COL-I)) and the total proteins of the MC3T3-E1 cells. We anticipate that the convenient generation of highly porous 3D scaffolds based on Gel/n-HA/PLGA fabricated through an innovative combinatorial approach of 3D printing technology and freeze-drying methods may undoubtedly find widespread applications in regenerative medicine.
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