Formation of Adipose Stromal Vascular Fraction Cell-Laden Spheroids Using a Three-Dimensional Bioprinter and Superhydrophobic Surfaces

Tissue Eng Part C Methods. 2017 Sep;23(9):516-524. doi: 10.1089/ten.TEC.2017.0056. Epub 2017 Aug 10.


The therapeutic infusion of adipose-derived stromal vascular fraction (SVF) cells for the treatment of multiple diseases, has progressed to numerous human clinical trials; however, the often poor retention of the cells following implantation remains a common drawback of direct cell injection. One solution to cellular retention at the injection site has been the use of biogels to encapsulate cells within a microenvironment before and upon implantation. The current study utilized three-dimensional bioprinting technology to evaluate the ability to form SVF cell-laden spheroids with collagen I as a gel-forming biomatrix. A superhydrophobic surface was created to maintain the bioprinted structures in a spheroid shape. A hydrophilic disc was printed onto the hydrophobic surface to immobilize the spheroids during the gelation process. Conditions for the automated rapid formation of SVF cell-laden spheroids were explored, including time/pressure relationships for spheroid extrusion during bioprinting. The formed spheroids maintain SVF viability in both static culture and dynamic spinner culture. Spheroids also undergo a time-dependent contraction with the retention of angiogenic sprout phenotype over the 14-day culture period. The use of a biphilic surface exhibiting both superhydrophobicity to maintain the spheroid shape and a hydrophilicity to immobilize the spheroid during gel formation produces SVF cell-laden spheroids that can be immediately transplanted for therapeutic applications.

Keywords: SVF; bioprinting; biphilic; spheroid; stromal vascular fraction; superhydrophobic.

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / cytology*
  • Animals
  • Bioprinting / instrumentation*
  • Cell Shape / drug effects
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Collagen Type I / pharmacology
  • Hydrophobic and Hydrophilic Interactions*
  • Printing, Three-Dimensional*
  • Rats
  • Spheroids, Cellular / cytology*
  • Spheroids, Cellular / drug effects
  • Stromal Cells / cytology
  • Stromal Cells / drug effects
  • Surface Properties


  • Collagen Type I