Inspired by the human placenta: a novel 3D bioprinted membrane system to create barrier models

Sci Rep. 2020 Sep 24;10(1):15606. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-72559-6.


Barrier organ models need a scaffold structure to create a two compartment culture. Technical filter membranes used most often as scaffolds may impact cell behaviour and present a barrier themselves, ultimately limiting transferability of test results. In this work we present an alternative for technical filter membrane systems: a 3D bioprinted biological membrane in 24 well format. The biological membrane, based on extracellular matrix (ECM), is highly permeable and presents a natural 3D environment for cell culture. Inspired by the human placenta we established a coculture of a trophoblast-derived cell line (BeWo b30), together with primary placental fibroblasts within the biological membrane (simulating villous stroma) and primary human placental endothelial cells-representing three cellular components of the human placental villus. All cell types maintained their cell type specific marker expression after two weeks of coculture on the biological membrane. In permeability assays the trophoblast layer developed a barrier on the biological membrane, which was even more pronounced when cocultured with fibroblasts. In this work we present a filter membrane free scaffold, we characterize its properties and assess its suitability for cell culture and barrier models. Further we show a novel placenta inspired model in a complex bioprinted coculture. In the absence of an artificial filter membrane, we demonstrate barrier architecture and functionality.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biological Transport
  • Cell Culture Techniques / instrumentation*
  • Cell Culture Techniques / methods*
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism*
  • Cell Survival
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Choriocarcinoma / metabolism
  • Choriocarcinoma / pathology*
  • Chorionic Villi / metabolism
  • Chorionic Villi / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / methods*
  • Pregnancy
  • Trophoblasts / cytology*
  • Trophoblasts / metabolism
  • Uterine Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Uterine Neoplasms / pathology