Although 3D bio-printing technology has great potential in creating complex tissues with multiple cell types and matrices, maintaining the viability of thick tissue construct for tissue growth and maturation after the printing is challenging due to lack of vascular perfusion. Perfused capillary network can be a solution for this issue; however, construction of a complete capillary network at single cell level using the existing technology is nearly impossible due to limitations in time and spatial resolution of the dispensing technology. To address the vascularization issue, we developed a 3D printing method to construct larger (lumen size of ~1mm) fluidic vascular channels and to create adjacent capillary network through a natural maturation process, thus providing a feasible solution to connect the capillary network to the large perfused vascular channels. In our model, microvascular bed was formed in between two large fluidic vessels, and then connected to the vessels by angiogenic sprouting from the large channel edge. Our bio-printing technology has a great potential in engineering vascularized thick tissues and vascular niches, as the vascular channels are simultaneously created while cells and matrices are printed around the channels in desired 3D patterns.
Keywords: 3D bio-printing; angiogenesis; capillary; hydrogel; vascular lumen; vasculogenesis.