3D bioprint constructs change shape over time

Bio-printed cell-rich bioconstruct (Eben Alberg) showing controlled and complex 4D shape transformation

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have developed a method for creating 3D-printed cell-loaded bioink constructs that can change shape over time, similar to tissues in the body. When cross-linked molecules are incorporated into the printed hydrogel, some of them are UV photosensitive and the shape of the construct changes after printing. This technique may help scientists model the development of tissues that respond to external stimuli such as bone and cartilage, or that also undergo shape changes between healing and development. UIC researchers call this technique “4D printing,” and four dimensions are represented by morphological changes over time.

3D printing unleashes the wildest fantasy of tissue engineering researchers, allowing them to print complex shapes consisting of biocompatible inks and encapsulated cells. While this technology has great potential in creating tissue and organ replacements, there is much work to be done to reach that point. This latest development allows researchers to create 3D shapes that will later undergo pre-programmed shape changes.

They can be designed to occur automatically over time or on demand, and by carefully incorporating the gradients of cross-linked molecules that bind structures at the molecular level, they result in predictable shape changes. Bio-inks are made up of tightly packed flake-like microgels, and researchers have also incorporated live cells and photosensitive cross-linking molecules into printed structures.

“This bio-ink system provides the opportunity to print bio-constructs that can achieve more sophisticated architectural changes over time,” said researcher Eben Alsberg. .. “These cell-rich structures with pre-programmable and controllable shape morphing promise to better mimic the body’s natural developmental processes, allowing scientists to study tissue morphology more accurately. To help achieve greater advances in tissue engineering. “

The shape-changing performance of printed structures may be useful for researchers who want to better emulate the shape-changing tissue in our body. For example, bone has the amazing ability to remodel itself in response to physical stimuli, but until now no biomaterial that emulates this has been available.

“Bioink has shear fluidization and rapid self-healing properties that enable smooth extrusion-based printing with high resolution and high fidelity without a support bus,” says Alsberg. “The printed bioconstruct remains intact after being further stabilized by light-based cross-linking, for example, bending, twisting, and undergoing multiple deformations. With this system, You can bioengineer complex shaped cartilage-like tissues that evolve over time. ”

Study at Advanced material: Clogged microflake hydrogel for 4D living cell bioprinting

Via: University of Illinois, Chicago 3D bioprint constructs change shape over time

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