Regenerative medicine is a rapidly developing field and newly emerging fields such as tissue engineering, material science, cell and molecular biology have been developed, some of which incorporate the use of biotechnologies to provide tissue regeneration. Tissue engineering mainly focuses on creating appropriate conditions for the regeneration of tissues. Scaffolds, signal molecules, and stem cells interact with each other and compose the essential components of this field.
Three-dimensional (3D) printing is used as a method to construct three dimensional structures to hold living cells and mimic an extracellular matrix. Scaffolds fabricated by 3D printing were shown to provide a micro-environment for cells to adhere, proliferate, and differentiate. At the same time, 3D printed scaffolds could supply bio-absorbable physical networks for damaged tissue and may serve as customized “tissue constructs” such as dental pulp tissue in human or mice root canals.
Three-Dimensional Printing of Polylactic Acid (PLA) Scaffolds
Polylactic Acid scaffolds were designed and 3D printed in NEU3D Laboratories. Designs were made using the Solidworks Software. The scaffolds comprised of columns that intersect in a perpendicular manner forming a three-dimensional porous structure. The overall dimension of one scaffold was 5 × 5 × 2 mm3, the column thickness was 0.4 mm, and the space between columns was 0.4 mm. Three-dimensional printing of scaffolds was performed in fused deposition modeling (FDM) 3D Printer (5th Generation, Makerbot Industries LLC) using 1.75 mm PLA filaments.
The research findings demonstrated that PLA scaffolds provide a supporting medium for structural integrity, easy mobility of hSHEDS (stem cells from human exfoliated decidious teeth), and create a three-dimensional physical microenvironment. The isolated hSHEDS have survival ability, adhesion to the scaffold surface, and maintain their osteogenic differentiation on PLA scaffolds. Ultimately, the hSHEDS-PLA scaffold combination seems to be a potentially good osteogenic filling material for regenerative dentistry in the near future.