Biomimicking trilayer scaffolds with controlled estradiol release for uterine tissue regeneration

Trilayer scaffolds were fabricated for biomimicking the anatomical structure of the uterine tissue. They could sustainably release estradiol and were able to transform into curved structures to meet the curvature of uterine tissue. They therefore have a high potential for uterine regeneration.


Scaffold-based tissue engineering provides an efficient approach for repairing uterine tissue defects and restoring fertility. In the current study, a novel trilayer tissue engineering scaffold with high similarity to the uterine tissue in structure was designed and fabricated via 4D printing, electrospinning and 3D bioprinting for uterine regeneration. Highly stretchable poly(l-lactide-co-trimethylene carbonate) (PLLA-co-TMC, “PTMC” in short)/thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) polymer blend scaffolds were firstly made via 4D printing. To improve the biocompatibility, porous poly(lactic acid-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA)/gelatin methacryloyl (GelMA) fibers incorporated with polydopamine (PDA) particles were produced on PTMC/TPU scaffolds via electrospinning. Importantly, estradiol (E2) was encapsulated in PDA particles. The bilayer scaffolds thus produced could provide controlled and sustained release of E2. Subsequently, bone marrow derived mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs) were mixed with gelatin methacryloyl (GelMA)-based inks and the formulated bioinks were used to fabricate a cell-laden hydrogel layer on the bilayer scaffolds via 3D bioprinting, forming ultimately biomimicking trilayer scaffolds for uterine tissue regeneration. The trilayer tissue engineering scaffolds thus formed exhibited a shape morphing ability by transforming from the planar shape to tubular structures when immersed in the culture medium at 37°C. The trilayer tissue engineering scaffolds under development would provide new insights for uterine tissue regeneration.

Author list:

Shangsi Chen, Junzhi Li, Liwu Zheng, Jie Huang, Min Wang*

How to cite:

S. Chen, J. Li, L. Zheng, J. Huang, M. Wang, Exploration 2024, 20230141.