Scanningless and continuous 3D bioprinting of human tissues with decellularized extracellular matrix.
ABSTRACT: Decellularized extracellular matrices (dECMs) have demonstrated excellent utility as bioscaffolds in recapitulating the complex biochemical microenvironment, however, their use as bioinks in 3D bioprinting to generate functional biomimetic tissues has been limited by their printability and lack of tunable physical properties. Here, we describe a method to produce photocrosslinkable tissue-specific dECM bioinks for fabricating patient-specific tissues with high control over complex microarchitecture and mechanical properties using a digital light processing (DLP)-based scanningless and continuous 3D bioprinter. We demonstrated that tissue-matched dECM bioinks provided a conducive environment for maintaining high viability and maturation of human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC)-derived cardiomyocytes and hepatocytes. Microscale patterning also guided spontaneous cellular reorganization into predesigned striated heart and lobular liver structures through biophysical cues. Our methodology enables a light-based approach to rapidly bioprint dECM bioinks with accurate tissue-scale design to engineer physiologically-relevant functional human tissues for applications in biology, regenerative medicine, and diagnostics.
Project description:Decellularized extracellular matrices (dECMs) represent a promising alternative as a source of materials to develop scaffolds that closely mimic the native environment of cells. As a result, dECMs have attracted significant attention for their applications in regenerative medicine and tissue engineering. One such application is 3D bioprinting, in which dECMs can be used to prepare bioinks with the biomimicry attributes required for regeneration purposes. Formulating bioinks is, however, challenging, due to difficulties in assuring that the printed materials match the mechanical properties of the tissue which is to be regenerated. To tackle this issue, a number of strategies have been devised, including crosslinking methods, the addition of synthetic materials as excipients, and the use of synthetic matrices for casting. We are particularly interested in extrusion-based 3D bioprinting, mainly due to the ease of rapidly conducting tests for adjusting operating conditions such that the required rheological and mechanical properties are met when using it. Here, we propose a novel bioink that consists of an acid-based precipitation of a small intestinal submucosa (SIS) dECM. The formulated bioink also relies on photocrosslinking reactions to attempt to control gelation and ultimately the mechanical properties of the extruded material. Photoinitiation was explored with the aid of varying concentrations of riboflavin (RF). Manual extrusion and rheological flow tests confirmed the printability and shear-thinning behavior of all formulations. Photocrosslinking reactions, however, failed to promote a substantial increase in gelation, which was attributed to considerable entanglement of undigested collagen molecules. As a result, pendant amine groups thought to be involved in the photo-mediated reactions remain largely inaccessible. In silico computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations were implemented to determine shear stress values on the bioink along the exit of the printing nozzle. Moreover, we calculated a stability parameter as a means to estimate changes in the bioink stability during the extrusion process. Future studies should be directed toward assessing the role of temperature-induced gelation in the rheological properties of the bioink and the development of strategies to improve the efficiency of photocrosslinking processes.
Project description:As photocrosslinkable materials, methacryloyl-modified hydrogels are widely used as bioinks in tissue engineering. Existing printing methods to use these hydrogels, including changing the viscosity of the material or mixing them with other printing components, have been explored, but their application has been limited due to low printing quality or high cost. In addition, the complex operation of bulky equipment restricts the application of these existing printing methods. This study presents a lightweight stereolithography-based three-dimensional (3D) bioprinting system with a smart mechanical and structural design. The developed bioprinter dimensions were 300 mm × 300 mm × 200 mm and it can be placed on a benchtop. The equipment has a mini bioink chamber to store a small amount of bioink for each printing. We systematically investigated the point-by-point curing process in the 3D bioprinting method, which can print mixed cells accurately and have good biocompatibility. Here, we provide a compact, low-cost stereolithography bioprinting system with excellent biocompatibility for 3D bioprinting with methacryloyl-modified hydrogels. It can be potentially used for drug screening, studying pathological mechanisms, and constructing biological disease models.
Project description:Whole transcriptome profiling of hBMMSCs printed with various dECM bioinks were conducted to reveal the effect of compositional variations in a tissue-specific manner Differential expression patterns of genes were observed in a tissue-specific manner, and this research provides strong evidence of the tissue-specific functionalities of dECM bioinks. Overall design: hBMMSCs were 3D-cell printed with liver, heart, skin, and cornea dECM bioink, he cell-laden constructs were printed using an in-house-developed 3D cell printing system. Cell-printed constructs were incubated at 37°C for 30 minutes to induce thermal crosslinking. The cell-printed constructs were cultured for seven days in the same culture media condition. Each group was duplicated, and each trial was in average with 6 samples
Project description:Three-dimensional (3D) cell printing systems allow the controlled and precise deposition of multiple cells in 3D constructs. Hydrogel materials have been used extensively as printable bioinks owing to their ability to safely encapsulate living cells. However, hydrogel-based bioinks have drawbacks for cell printing, e.g. inappropriate crosslinking and liquid-like rheological properties, which hinder precise 3D shaping. Therefore, in this study, we investigated the influence of various factors (e.g. bioink concentration, viscosity, and extent of crosslinking) on cell printing and established a new 3D cell printing system equipped with heating modules for the precise stacking of decellularized extracellular matrix (dECM)-based 3D cell-laden constructs. Because the pH-adjusted bioink isolated from native tissue is safely gelled at 37?°C, our heating system facilitated the precise stacking of dECM bioinks by enabling simultaneous gelation during printing. We observed greater printability compared with that of a non-heating system. These results were confirmed by mechanical testing and 3D construct stacking analyses. We also confirmed that our heating system did not elicit negative effects, such as cell death, in the printed cells. Conclusively, these results hold promise for the application of 3D bioprinting to tissue engineering and drug development.
Project description:Bioprinting is an acclaimed technique that allows the scaling of 3D architectures in an organized pattern but suffers from a scarcity of appropriate bioinks. Decellularized extracellular matrix (dECM) from xenogeneic species has garnered support as a biomaterial to promote tissue-specific regeneration and repair. The prospect of developing dECM-based 3D artificial tissue is impeded by its inherent low mechanical properties. In recent years, 3D bioprinting of dECM-based bioinks modified with additional scaffolds has advanced the development of load-bearing constructs. However, previous attempts using dECM were limited to low-temperature bioprinting, which is not favorable for a longer print duration with cells. Here, we report the development of a multi-material decellularized liver matrix (dLM) bioink reinforced with gelatin and polyethylene glycol to improve rheology, extrudability, and mechanical stability. This shear-thinning bioink facilitated extrusion-based bioprinting at 37 °C with HepG2 cells into a 3D grid structure with a further enhancement for long-term applications by enzymatic crosslinking with mushroom tyrosinase. The heavily crosslinked structure showed a 16-fold increase in viscosity (2.73 Pa s<sup>-1</sup>) and a 32-fold increase in storage modulus from the non-crosslinked dLM while retaining high cell viability (85-93%) and liver-specific functions. Our results show that the cytocompatible crosslinking of dLM bioink at physiological temperatures has promising applications for extended 3D-printing procedures.
Project description:Cartilage repair in clinics is a challenge owing to the limited regenerative capacities of cartilage. Synovium-derived stem cells (SDSCs) are suggested as tissue-specific stem cells for chondrogenesis. In this study, we hypothesize that decellularized extracellular matrix (dECM) deposited by SDSCs could provide a superior tissue-specific matrix microenvironment for optimal rejuvenation of adult SDSCs for cartilage regeneration. dECMs were deposited by adult stem cells with varying chondrogenic capacities; SDSCs (strong) (SECM), adipose-derived stem cells (weak) (AECM) and dermal fibroblasts (weak) (DECM), and urine-derived stem cells (none) (UECM). Plastic flasks (Plastic) were used as a control substrate. Human SDSCs were expanded on the above substrates for one passage and examined for chondrogenic capacities. We found that each dECM consisted of unique matrix proteins and exhibited varied stiffnesses, which affected cell morphology and elasticity. Human SDSCs grown on dECMs displayed a significant increase in cell proliferation and unique surface phenotypes. Under induction media, dECM expanded cells yielded pellets with a dramatically increased number of chondrogenic markers. Interestingly, SECM expanded cells had less potential for hypertrophy compared to those grown on other dECMs, indicating that a tissue-specific matrix might provide a superior microenvironment for stem cell chondrogenic differentiation.
Project description:Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), as the fifth most common malignant cancer, develops and progresses mostly in a cirrhotic liver where stiff nodules are separated by fibrous bands. Scaffolds that can provide a 3D cirrhotic mechanical environment with complex native composition and biomimetic architecture are necessary for the development of better predictive tissue models. Here, we developed photocrosslinkable liver decellularized extracellular matrix (dECM) and a rapid light-based 3D bioprinting process to pattern liver dECM with tailorable mechanical properties to serve as a platform for HCC progression study. 3D bioprinted liver dECM scaffolds were able to stably recapitulate the clinically relevant mechanical properties of cirrhotic liver tissue. When encapsulated in dECM scaffolds with cirrhotic stiffness, HepG2 cells demonstrated reduced growth along with an upregulation of invasion markers compared to healthy controls. Moreover, an engineered cancer tissue platform possessing tissue-scale organization and distinct regional stiffness enabled the visualization of HepG2 stromal invasion from the nodule with cirrhotic stiffness. This work demonstrates a significant advancement in rapid 3D patterning of complex ECM biomaterials with biomimetic architecture and tunable mechanical properties for in vitro disease modeling.
Project description:Three-dimensional (3D) bioprinting of patient-specific auricular cartilage constructs could 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 cdECM 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.
Project description:Conductive hydrogels are emerging as promising materials for bioelectronic applications as they minimize the mismatch between biological and electronic systems. We propose a strategy to bioprint biohybrid conductive bioinks based on decellularized extracellular matrix (dECM) and multiwalled carbon nanotubes. These inks contained conductive features and morphology of the dECM fibers. Electrical stimulation (ES) was applied to bioprinted structures containing human pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (hPSC-CMs). It was observed that in the absence of external ES, the conductive properties of the materials can improve the contractile behavior of the hPSC-CMs, and this effect is enhanced under the application of external ES. Genetic markers indicated a trend toward a more mature state of the cells with upregulated calcium handling proteins and downregulation of calcium channels involved in the generation of pacemaking currents. These results demonstrate the potential of our strategy to manufacture conductive hydrogels in complex geometries for actuating purposes.
Project description:3D bioprinting is a promising approach for the repair of cartilage tissue after damage due to injury or disease; however, the design of 3D printed scaffolds has been limited by the availability of bioinks with requisite printability, cytocompatibility, and bioactivity. To address this, we developed an approach termed in situ crosslinking that permits the printing of non-viscous, photocrosslinkable bioinks via the direct-curing of the bioink with light through a photopermeable capillary prior to deposition. Using a norbornene-modified hyaluronic acid (NorHA) macromer as a representative bioink and our understanding of thiol-ene curing kinetics with visible light, we varied the printing parameters (e.g., capillary length, flow rate, light intensity) to identify printing conditions that were optimal for the ink. The printing process was cytocompatible, with high cell viability and homogenous distribution of mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) observed throughout printed constructs. Over 56 days of culture in chondrogenic media, printed constructs increased in compressive moduli, biochemical content (i.e., sulfated glycosaminoglycans, collagen), and histological staining of matrix associated with cartilage tissue. This generalizable printing approach may be used towards the repair of focal defects in articular cartilage or broadly towards widespread biomedical applications across a range of photocrosslinkable bioinks that can now be printed.