Handheld Co-Axial Bioprinting: Application to in situ surgical cartilage repair

Sci Rep. 2017 Jul 19;7(1):5837. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-05699-x.


Three-dimensional (3D) bioprinting is driving major innovations in the area of cartilage tissue engineering. Extrusion-based 3D bioprinting necessitates a phase change from a liquid bioink to a semi-solid crosslinked network achieved by a photo-initiated free radical polymerization reaction that is known to be cytotoxic. Therefore, the choice of the photocuring conditions has to be carefully addressed to generate a structure stiff enough to withstand the forces phisiologically applied on articular cartilage, while ensuring adequate cell survival for functional chondral repair. We recently developed a handheld 3D printer called "Biopen". To progress towards translating this freeform biofabrication tool into clinical practice, we aimed to define the ideal bioprinting conditions that would deliver a scaffold with high cell viability and structural stiffness relevant for chondral repair. To fulfill those criteria, free radical cytotoxicity was confined by a co-axial Core/Shell separation. This system allowed the generation of Core/Shell GelMa/HAMa bioscaffolds with stiffness of 200KPa, achieved after only 10 seconds of exposure to 700 mW/cm2 of 365 nm UV-A, containing >90% viable stem cells that retained proliferative capacity. Overall, the Core/Shell handheld 3D bioprinting strategy enabled rapid generation of high modulus bioscaffolds with high cell viability, with potential for in situ surgical cartilage engineering.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bioprinting / methods*
  • Cartilage, Articular / surgery*
  • Cell Death / radiation effects
  • Cell Proliferation / radiation effects
  • Cell Survival / radiation effects
  • Elastic Modulus
  • Hydrogel, Polyethylene Glycol Dimethacrylate / chemistry
  • Light
  • Methacrylates / chemistry
  • Regeneration*
  • Sheep
  • Tissue Scaffolds / chemistry


  • Methacrylates
  • Hydrogel, Polyethylene Glycol Dimethacrylate