A multi-cellular 3D bioprinting approach for vascularized heart tissue engineering based on HUVECs and iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes

Sci Rep. 2018 Sep 10;8(1):13532. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-31848-x.


The myocardium behaves like a sophisticated orchestra that expresses its true potential only if each member performs the correct task harmonically. Recapitulating its complexity within engineered 3D functional constructs with tailored biological and mechanical properties, is one of the current scientific priorities in the field of regenerative medicine and tissue engineering. In this study, driven by the necessity of fabricating advanced model of cardiac tissue, we present an innovative approach consisting of heterogeneous, multi-cellular constructs composed of Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells (HUVECs) and induced pluripotent cell-derived cardiomyocytes (iPSC-CMs). Cells were encapsulated within hydrogel strands containing alginate and PEG-Fibrinogen (PF) and extruded through a custom microfluidic printing head (MPH) that allows to precisely tailor their 3D spatial deposition, guaranteeing a high printing fidelity and resolution. We obtained a 3D cardiac tissue compose of iPSC-derived CMs with a high orientation index imposed by the different defined geometries and blood vessel-like shapes generated by HUVECs which, as demonstrated by in vivo grafting, better support the integration of the engineered cardiac tissue with host's vasculature.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alginates / chemistry
  • Animals
  • Bioprinting / instrumentation
  • Bioprinting / methods*
  • Bioprosthesis*
  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / surgery
  • Cell Culture Techniques / methods
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Coronary Vessels / physiology
  • Fibrinogen / chemistry
  • Fibroblasts
  • Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells / physiology
  • Humans
  • Hydrogels / chemistry
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells / physiology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Microfluidics / instrumentation
  • Microfluidics / methods
  • Models, Animal
  • Myocardium / cytology
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / physiology
  • Primary Cell Culture
  • Printing, Three-Dimensional*
  • Prosthesis Implantation
  • Skin / cytology
  • Tissue Engineering / instrumentation
  • Tissue Engineering / methods*
  • Tissue Scaffolds / chemistry


  • Alginates
  • Hydrogels
  • Fibrinogen