3D printing scaffold coupled with low level light therapy for neural tissue regeneration

Biofabrication. 2017 Apr 12;9(2):025002. doi: 10.1088/1758-5090/aa6999.


3D printing has shown promise for neural regeneration by providing customized nerve scaffolds to structurally support and bridge the defect gap as well as deliver cells or various bioactive substances. Low-level light therapy (LLLT) exhibits positive effects on rehabiliation of degenerative nerves and neural disorders. With this in mind, we postulate that 3D printed neural scaffold coupling with LLLT will generate a new strategy to repair neural degeneration. To achieve this goal, we applied red laser light to stimualte neural stem cells on 3D printed scaffolds and investigated the subsequent cell response with respect to cell proliferation and differentiation. Here we show that cell prolifeartion rate and intracellular reactive oxgen species synthesis were significantly increased after 15 s laser stimulation follwed by 1 d culture. Over culturing time of 14 d in vitro, the laser stimulation promoted neuronal differentiation of neural stem cells, while the glial differentiation was suppressed based on results of both immunocytochemistry studies and real-time quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction testing. These findings suggest that integration of 3D printing and LLLT might provide a powerful methodology for neural tissue engineering.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / radiation effects
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Gelatin
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Low-Level Light Therapy*
  • Methacrylates / chemistry
  • Mice
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Nerve Regeneration*
  • Nestin / metabolism
  • Neural Stem Cells
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / radiation effects
  • Polyethylene Glycols / chemistry
  • Printing, Three-Dimensional*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Tissue Engineering / methods*
  • Tissue Scaffolds / chemistry*


  • Methacrylates
  • Nestin
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • poly(ethylene glycol)diacrylate
  • Polyethylene Glycols
  • Gelatin