3D bioprinting of ultrashort self-assembling peptides to engineer scaffolds with different matrix stiffness for chondrogenesis

Dana M. Alhattab, Zainab Khan, Salwa Alshehri, Hepi H. Susapto, Charlotte A.E. Hauser*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Articular cartilage is a nonvascularized and poorly cellularized tissue with a low selfrepair capacity. Therefore, damage to this tissue due to trauma or degenerative joint diseases such as osteoarthritis needs a high-end medical intervention. However, such interventions are costly, have limited healing capacity, and could impair patients’ quality of life. In this regard, tissue engineering and three-dimensional (3D) bioprinting hold great potential. However, identifying suitable bioinks that are biocompatible, with the desired mechanical stiffness, and can be used under physiological conditions is still a challenge. In this study, we developed two tetrameric self-assembling ultrashort peptide bioinks that are chemically well-defined and can spontaneously form nanofibrous hydrogels under physiological conditions. The printability of the two ultrashort peptides was demonstrated; different shape constructs were printed with high shape fidelity and stability. Furthermore, the developed ultrashort peptide bioinks gave rise to constructs with different mechanical properties that could be used to guide stem cell differentiation toward specific lineages. Both ultrashort peptide bioinks demonstrated high biocompatibility and supported the chondrogenic differentiation of human mesenchymal stem cells. Additionally, the gene expression analysis of differentiated stem cells with the ultrashort peptide bioinks revealed articular cartilage extracellular matrix formation preference. Based on the different mechanical stiffness of the two ultrashort peptide bioinks, they can be used to fabricate cartilage tissue with different cartilaginous zones, including the articular and calcified cartilage zones, which are essential for engineered tissue integration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Bioprinting
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2023


  • 3D bioprinting
  • Chondrogenic differentiation
  • Peptide bioink
  • Ultrashort self-assembling peptide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Materials Science (miscellaneous)
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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