by Gehlen, D. B., Jürgens, N., Omidinia‐Anarkoli, A., Haraszti, T., George, J., Walther, A., Ye, H., De Laporte, L.
The replacement of diseased and damaged organs remains an challenge in modern medicine. However, through the use of tissue engineering techniques, it may soon be possible to (re)generate tissues and organs using artificial scaffolds. For example, hydrogel networks made from hydrophilic precursor solutions can replicate many properties found in the natural extracellular matrix (ECM) but often lack the dynamic nature of the ECM, as many covalently crosslinked hydrogels possess elastic and static networks with nanoscale pores hindering cell migration without being degradable. To overcome this, macroporous colloidal hydrogels can be prepared to facilitate cell infiltration. Here, an easy method is presented to fabricate granular cellulose nanofibril hydrogel (CNF) scaffolds as porous networks for 3D cell cultivation. CNF is an abundant natural and highly biocompatible material that supports cell adhesion. Granular CNF scaffolds are generated by pre‐crosslinking CNF using calcium and subsequently pressing the gel through micrometer‐sized nylon meshes. The granular solution is mixed with fibroblasts and crosslinked with cell culture medium. The obtained granular CNF scaffold is significantly softer and enables well‐distributed fibroblast growth. This cost‐effective material combined with this efficient and facile fabrication technique allows for 3D cell cultivation in an upscalable manner.