Laser printing of stem cells for biofabrication of scaffold-free autologous grafts

Tissue Eng Part C Methods. 2011 Jan;17(1):79-87. doi: 10.1089/ten.TEC.2010.0359. Epub 2010 Aug 30.


Stem cells are of widespread interest in regenerative medicine due to their capability of self-renewal and differentiation, which is regulated by their three-dimensional microenvironment. In this study, a computer-aided biofabrication technique based on laser-induced forward transfer (LIFT) is used to generate grafts consisting of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). We demonstrate that (i) laser printing does not cause any cell damage; (ii) laser-printed MSC grafts can be differentiated toward bone and cartilage; (iii) LIFT allows printing of cell densities high enough for the promotion of chondrogenesis; (iv) with LIFT three-dimensional scaffold-free autologous tissue grafts can be fabricated keeping their predefined structure, and (v) predifferentiated MSCs survived the complete printing procedure and kept their functionality. We believe that our results will find important applications in stem cell biology and tissue engineering.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bioprinting / methods
  • Bone and Bones / cytology
  • Cartilage / cytology
  • Cell Culture Techniques
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Lineage
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cell Survival
  • Cells, Cultured / cytology
  • Chondrocytes / cytology
  • Chondrogenesis
  • Hydrogels / chemistry
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional
  • Lasers
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Osteogenesis
  • Regenerative Medicine / methods
  • Swine
  • Tissue Engineering / methods*
  • Tissue Scaffolds / chemistry*


  • Hydrogels