Three-dimensional bioprinting using self-assembling scalable scaffold-free "tissue strands" as a new bioink

Sci Rep. 2016 Jun 27;6:28714. doi: 10.1038/srep28714.


Recent advances in bioprinting have granted tissue engineers the ability to assemble biomaterials, cells, and signaling molecules into anatomically relevant functional tissues or organ parts. Scaffold-free fabrication has recently attracted a great deal of interest due to the ability to recapitulate tissue biology by using self-assembly, which mimics the embryonic development process. Despite several attempts, bioprinting of scale-up tissues at clinically-relevant dimensions with closely recapitulated tissue biology and functionality is still a major roadblock. Here, we fabricate and engineer scaffold-free scalable tissue strands as a novel bioink material for robotic-assisted bioprinting technologies. Compare to 400 μm-thick tissue spheroids bioprinted in a liquid delivery medium into confining molds, near 8 cm-long tissue strands with rapid fusion and self-assemble capabilities are bioprinted in solid form for the first time without any need for a scaffold or a mold support or a liquid delivery medium, and facilitated native-like scale-up tissues. The prominent approach has been verified using cartilage strands as building units to bioprint articular cartilage tissue.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cartilage, Articular / cytology*
  • Cartilage, Articular / metabolism
  • Cattle
  • Materials Testing*
  • Printing, Three-Dimensional*
  • Tissue Engineering*
  • Tissue Scaffolds / chemistry*