Purpose: This report explores the overlooked potential of bioprinting to automate biomanufacturing of simple tissue structures, such as the uniform deposition of (mono)layers of progenitor cells on sheetlike decellularized extracellular matrices (dECM). In this scenario, dECM serves as a biodegradable celldelivery matrix to provide enhanced regenerative microenvironments for tissue repair. The Tissue-Engineered Muscle Repair (TEMR) technology-where muscle progenitor cells are seeded onto a porcine bladder acellular matrix (BAM), serves as a representative testbed for bioprinting applications. Previous work demonstrated that TEMR implantation improved functional outcomes following VML injury in biologically relevant rodent models.Materials and Methods: In the described bioprinting system, a cell-laden hydrogel bioink is used to deposit high cell densities (1.4 × 105-3.5 × 105 cells/cm2), onto both sides of the bladder acellular matrix as proof-of-concept.Results: These bioprinting methods achieve a reproducible and homogeneous distribution of cells, on both sides of the BAM scaffold, after just 24hrs, with cell viability as high as 98%. These preliminary results suggest bioprinting allows for improved dual-sided cell coverage compared to manual-seeding.Conclusions: Bioprinting can enable automated fabrication of TEMR constructs with high fidelity and scalability, while reducing biomanufacturing costs and timelines. Such bioprinting applications are underappreciated, yet critical, to expand the overall biomanufacturing paradigm for tissue engineered medical products. In addition, biofabrication of sheet-like implantable constructs, with cells deposited on both sides, is a process that is both scaffold and cell-type agnostic, and furthermore, is amenable to many geometries, and thus, additional tissue engineering applications beyond skeletal muscle.
Keywords: Bioprinting; biofabrication; biomanufacturing; skeletal muscle; tissue engineering; volumetric muscle loss.