Real-Time Live-Cell Imaging Technology Enables High-Throughput Screening to Verify in Vitro Biocompatibility of 3D Printed Materials

Materials (Basel). 2019 Jul 2;12(13):2125. doi: 10.3390/ma12132125.


With growing advances in three-dimensional (3D) printing technology, the availability and diversity of printing materials has rapidly increased over the last years. 3D printing has quickly become a useful tool for biomedical and various laboratory applications, offering a tremendous potential for efficiently fabricating complex devices in a short period of time. However, there still remains a lack of information regarding the impact of printing materials and post-processing techniques on cell behavior. This study introduces real-time live-cell imaging technology as a fast, user-friendly, and high-throughput screening strategy to verify the in vitro biocompatibility of 3D printed materials. Polyacrylate-based photopolymer material was printed using high-resolution 3D printing techniques, post-processed using three different procedures, and then analyzed with respect to its effects on cell viability, apoptosis, and necrosis of adipogenic mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). When using ethanol for the post-processing procedure and disinfection, no significant effects on MSCs could be detected. For the analyses a novel image-based live-cell analysis system was compared against a biochemical-based standard plate reader assay and traditional flow cytometry. This comparison illustrates the superiority of using image-based detection of in vitro biocompatibility with respect to analysis time, usability, and scientific outcome.

Keywords: 3D printing; adipogenic mesenchymal stem cells; biocompatibility; flow cytometry; in vitro study; real-time live-cell imaging technology.