3D bioprinting of tissue-specific osteoblasts and endothelial cells to model the human jawbone

Sci Rep. 2021 Mar 1;11(1):4876. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-84483-4.


Jawbone differs from other bones in many aspects, including its developmental origin and the occurrence of jawbone-specific diseases like MRONJ (medication-related osteonecrosis of the jaw). Although there is a strong need, adequate in vitro models of this unique environment are sparse to date. While previous approaches are reliant e.g. on scaffolds or spheroid culture, 3D bioprinting enables free-form fabrication of complex living tissue structures. In the present work, production of human jawbone models was realised via projection-based stereolithography. Constructs were bioprinted containing primary jawbone-derived osteoblasts and vasculature-like channel structures optionally harbouring primary endothelial cells. After 28 days of cultivation in growth medium or osteogenic medium, expression of cell type-specific markers was confirmed on both the RNA and protein level, while prints maintained their overall structure. Survival of endothelial cells in the printed channels, co-cultured with osteoblasts in medium without supplementation of endothelial growth factors, was demonstrated. Constructs showed not only mineralisation, being one of the characteristics of osteoblasts, but also hinted at differentiation to an osteocyte phenotype. These results indicate the successful biofabrication of an in vitro model of the human jawbone, which presents key features of this special bone entity and hence appears promising for application in jawbone-specific research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bioprinting*
  • Coculture Techniques
  • Endothelial Cells / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Jaw*
  • Osteoblasts / metabolism*
  • Printing, Three-Dimensional*
  • Tissue Engineering*
  • Tissue Scaffolds / chemistry*