Biochemical and biophysical cues directly affect cell morphology, adhesion, proliferation, and phenotype, as well as differentiation; thus, they have been commonly utilized for designing and developing biomaterial systems for tissue engineering applications. To bioengineer skeletal muscle tissues, the efficient and stable formation of aligned fibrous multinucleated myotubes is essential. To achieve this goal, we employed a decellularized extracellular matrix (dECM) as a biochemical component and a modified three-dimensional (3D) cell-printing process to produce an in situ uniaxially aligned/micro-topographical structure. The dECM was derived from the decellularization of porcine skeletal muscles and chemically modified by methacrylate process to enhance mechanical stability. By using this ECM-based material and the 3D printing capability, we were able to produce a cell-laden dECM-based structure with unique topographical cues. The myoblasts (C2C12 cell line) laden in the printed structure were aligned and differentiated with a high degree of myotube formation, owing to the synergistic effect of the skeletal muscle-specific biochemical and topographical cues. In particular, the increase of the gene-expression levels of the dECM structure with topographical cues was approximately 1.5-1.8-fold compared with those of a gelatin methacrylate (GelMA)-based structure with the same topographical cues and a dECMbased structure without topographical cues. According to these in vitro cellular responses, the 3D printed dECM-based structures with topographical cues have the potential for bioengineering functional skeletal muscle tissues, and this strategy can be extended for many musculoskeletal tissues, such as tendons and ligaments and utilized for developing in vitro tissue-on-a-chip models in drug screening and development.
Recently, a three-dimensional (3D) bioprinting process for obtaining a cell-laden structure has been widely applied because of its ability to fabricate biomimetic complex structures embedded with and without cells. To successfully obtain a cell-laden porous block, the cell-delivering vehicle, bioink, is one of the significant factors. Until now, various biocompatible hydrogels (synthetic and natural biopolymers) have been utilized in the cell-printing process, but a bioink satisfying both biocompatibility and print-ability requirements to achieve a porous structure with reasonable mechanical strength has not been issued. Here, we propose a printing strategy with optimal conditions including a safe cross-linking procedure for obtaining a 3D porous cell block composed of a biocompatible collagen-bioink and genipin, a cross-linking agent. To obtain the optimal processing conditions, we modified the 3D printing machine and selected an optimal cross-linking condition (∼1 mM and 1 h) of genipin solution. To show the feasibility of the process, 3D pore-interconnected cell-laden constructs were manufactured using osteoblast-like cells (MG63) and human adipose stem cells (hASCs). Under these processing conditions, a macroscale 3D collagen-based cell block of 21 × 21 × 12 mm and over 95% cell viability was obtained. In vitro biological testing of the cell-laden 3D porous structure showed that the embedded cells were sufficiently viable, and their proliferation was significantly higher; the cells also exhibited increased osteogenic activities compared to the conventional alginate-based bioink (control). The results indicated the fabrication process using the collagen-bioink would be an innovative platform to design highly biocompatible and mechanically stable cell blocks.
In this study, we propose a new cell encapsulation method consisting of a dispensing method and an aerosol-spraying method. The aerosol spray using a cross-linking agent, calcium chloride (CaCl(2)), was used to control the surface gelation of dispensed alginate struts during dispensing. To show the feasibility of the method, we used preosteoblast (MC3T3-E1) cells. By changing the relationship between the various dispensing/aerosol-spraying conditions and cell viability, we could determine the optimal cell-dispensing process: a nozzle size (240 μm) and an aerosol spray flow rate (0.93 ± 0.12 mL min(-1)), 10 mm s(-1) nozzle moving speed, a 10 wt % concentration of CaCl(2) in the aerosol solution, and 2 wt % concentration of CaCl(2) in the second cross-linking process. Based on these optimized process conditions, we successfully fabricated a three-dimensional, pore-structured, cell-laden alginate scaffold of 20 × 20 × 4.6 mm(3) and 84% cell viability. During long cell culture periods (16, 25, 33, and 45 days), the preosteoblasts in the alginate scaffold survived and proliferated well.
Three-dimensional (3D) bioprinting of patient-specific auricular cartilage constructs would aid in the reconstruction process of traumatically injured or congenitally deformed ear cartilage. To achieve this, a hydrogel-based bioink is required that recapitulates the complex cartilage microenvironment. Tissue-derived decellularized extracellular matrix (dECM)-based hydrogels have been used as bioinks for cell-based 3D bioprinting because they contain tissue-specific ECM components that play a vital role in cell adhesion, growth, and differentiation. In this study, porcine auricular cartilage tissues were isolated and decellularized, and the decellularized cartilage tissues were characterized by histology, biochemical assay, and proteomics. This cartilage-derived dECM (cdECM) was subsequently processed into a photo-crosslinkable hydrogel using methacrylation (cdECMMA) and mixed with chondrocytes to create a printable bioink. The rheological properties, printability, and in vitro biological properties of the cdECMMA bioink were examined. The results showed cdCEM was obtained with complete removal of cellular components while preserving major ECM proteins. After methacrylation, the cdECMMA bioinks were printed in anatomical ear shape and exhibited adequate mechanical properties and structural integrity. Specifically, auricular chondrocytes in the printed cdECMMA hydrogel constructs maintained their viability and proliferation capacity and eventually produced cartilage ECM components, including collagen and glycosaminoglycans (GAGs). The potential of cell-based bioprinting using this cartilage-specific dECMMA bioink is demonstrated as an alternative option for auricular cartilage reconstruction.
β-Tricalcium phosphate (β-TCP) and collagen have been widely used to regenerate various hard tissues, but although Bioceramics and collagen have various biological advantages with respect to cellular activity, their usage has been limited due to β-TCP's inherent brittleness and low mechanical properties, along with the low shape-ability of the three-dimensional collagen. To overcome these material deficiencies, we fabricated a new hierarchical scaffold that consisted of a melt-plotted polycaprolactone (PCL)/β-TCP composite and embedded collagen nanofibers. The fabrication process was combined with general melt-plotting methods and electrospinning. To evaluate the capability of this hierarchical scaffold to act as a biomaterial for bone tissue regeneration, physical and biological assessments were performed. Scanning electron microscope (SEM) micrographs of the fabricated scaffolds indicated that the β-TCP particles were uniformly embedded in PCL struts and that electrospun collagen nanofibers (diameter = 160 nm) were well layered between the composite struts. By accommodating the β-TCP and collagen nanofibers, the hierarchical composite scaffolds showed dramatic water-absorption ability (100% increase), increased hydrophilic properties (20%), and good mechanical properties similar to PCL/β-TCP composite. MTT assay and SEM images of cell-seeded scaffolds showed that the initial attachment of osteoblast-like cells (MG63) in the hierarchical scaffold was 2.2 times higher than that on the PCL/β-TCP composite scaffold. Additionally, the proliferation rate of the cells was about two times higher than that of the composite scaffold after 7 days of cell culture. Based on these results, we conclude that the collagen nanofibers and β-TCP particles in the scaffold provide good synergistic effects for cell activity.
A new cell-printed scaffold consisting of poly(ϵ-caprolactone) (PCL) and cell-embedded alginate struts is designed. The PCL and alginate struts are stacked in an interdigitated pattern in successive layers to acquire a three-dimensional (3D) shape. The hybrid scaffold exhibits a two-phase structure consisting of cell (MC3T3-E1)-laden alginate struts able to support biological activity and PCL struts able to provide controllable mechanical support of the cell-laden alginate struts. The hybrid scaffolds exhibit an impressive increase in tensile modulus and maximum strength compared to pure alginate scaffolds. Laden cells are homogeneously distributed throughout the alginate struts and the entire scaffold, resulting in cell viability of approximately 84%.
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