In vitro characterization of xeno-free clinically relevant human collagen and its applicability in cell-laden 3D bioprinting

Trevor Schmitt, Nilabh Kajave, Huan Huan Cai, Linxia Gu, Mohammad Albanna, Vipuil Kishore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Collagen type I, commonly derived from xenogenic sources, is extensively used as a biomaterial for tissue engineering applications. However, the use of xenogenic collagen is typically associated with species specific variation in mechanical, structural, and biological properties that are known to influence cellular response and remodeling. In addition, immunological complications and risks of disease transmission are also major concerns. The goal of this study is to characterize a new xeno-free human skin-derived collagen and assess its applicability as a bioink for cell-laden 3 D bioprinting. Four different concentrations of human collagen (i.e., 0.5 mg/mL, 1 mg/mL, 3 mg/mL and 6 mg/mL) were employed for the synthesis of collagen hydrogels. In addition, bovine collagen was used as a xenogenic control. Results from SDS-PAGE analysis showed the presence of α1, α2, and β chains, confirming that the integrity of type I human collagen is maintained post isolation. Polymerization rate and compressive modulus increased significantly with increase in the concentration of human collagen. When comparing two different sources of collagen, the polymerization rate of xenogenic collagen was significantly faster (p < 0.05) than human collagen while the compressive modulus was comparable. Raman spectroscopy showed a large peak in the Amide I band around 1600 cm−1, indicating a dense and supraorganized fibrillar structure in human collagen hydrogels. Conversely, Amide I band intensity for xenogenic collagen was comparable to that of Amide II and Amide III bands. Further, the use of 6 mg/mL human collagen as a bioink yielded 3 D printed constructs with high shape fidelity and cell viability. On the other hand, xenogenic collagen failed to yield stable 3 D printed constructs. Together, the results from this study provides an impetus for using human-derived collagen as a viable alternative to xenogenic sources for 3 D bioprinting of clinically relevant scaffolds for tissue engineering applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)912-923
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Biomaterials Applications
Issue number8
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • 3D bioprinting
  • Human collagen
  • Saos-2 cells
  • cell-laden
  • xeno-free

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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