In vivo evaluation of bioprinted prevascularized bone tissue

Biotechnol Bioeng. 2020 Dec;117(12):3902-3911. doi: 10.1002/bit.27527. Epub 2020 Aug 12.


Bioprinting can be considered as a progression of the classical tissue engineering approach, in which cells are randomly seeded into scaffolds. Bioprinting offers the advantage that cells can be placed with high spatial fidelity within three-dimensional tissue constructs. A decisive factor to be addressed for bioprinting approaches of artificial tissues is that almost all tissues of the human body depend on a functioning vascular system for the supply of oxygen and nutrients. In this study, we have generated cuboid prevascularized bone tissue constructs by bioprinting human adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells (ASCs) and human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) by extrusion-based bioprinting and drop-on-demand (DoD) bioprinting, respectively. The computer-generated print design could be verified in vitro after printing. After subcutaneous implantation of bioprinted constructs in immunodeficient mice, blood vessel formation with human microvessels of different calibers could be detected arising from bioprinted HUVECs and stabilization of human blood vessels by mouse pericytes was observed. In addition, bioprinted ASCs were able to synthesize a calcified bone matrix as an indicator of ectopic bone formation. These results indicate that the combined bioprinting of ASCs and HUVECs represents a promising strategy to produce prevascularized artificial bone tissue for prospective applications in the treatment of critical-sized bone defects.

Keywords: bioprinting; bone formation; endothelial cell; mesenchymal stem cell; vascularization.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bioprinting*
  • Bone Transplantation*
  • Bone and Bones* / blood supply
  • Bone and Bones* / metabolism
  • Heterografts
  • Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells
  • Humans
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells*
  • Mice
  • Mice, SCID
  • Neovascularization, Physiologic*
  • Printing, Three-Dimensional
  • Tissue Engineering*
  • Tissue Scaffolds