Authors Yoshinari Tsukamoto, Takami Akagi, and Mitsuru Akashi, all from Osaka University , experiment with bioprinting in cardiac medicine, explaining their findings in the recently published ‘Vascularized cardiac tissue construction with orientation by layer-by-layer method and 3D printer .’
As tissue engineering continues to evolve in labs around the world, reaching the goal of 3D printing human organs hovers ever closer; and while such progress may seem just out of reach for many scientists, the fabrication of 3D tissue in new studies continues at a rapid pace. In this research, the authors continue where they left off in previous work, forging ahead to further refine cardiac tissue engineering.
Bioprinting cardiac tissue with a heart specific structure, cell orientation, and a vascular network, the authors used layer-by-layer fabrication (LbL), cell accumulation, and 3D printing. A hydroxybutyl chitosan (HBC) gel frame was created via 3D printing to control the orientation of the cells ‘linearly.’
“HBC has the ability of sol-gel transition depending on the temperature,” stated the authors.
The use of HBC gel was particularly interesting as the researchers used a robotic dispensing printer, cooling ink to 4 °C with a Peltier element. Evaluation by the authors showed that line width of the ink was around 1mm, with the potential for lamination of up to eight layers.
“A ninth layer could not be laminated because the HBC gel wall melted. The reason for this is that the ninth layer is far from the substrate and melts because it cannot receive temperature control,” explained the researchers. “From our previous studies, however, the thickness of 3D tissue is limited to 100 μm. For this reason, the 3D modeling ability of HBC gel is sufficient to fabricate 3D tissue using an LbL technique and cell accumulation technique.”
Next, the researchers created a vascular network for their 3D printed cardiac tissue, adding hiPSC-CMs and NHCF coated FN-G nanofilms co-cultured with HMVEC in a 1.5 × 15 mm rectangular HBC gel frame (5%). Employing a 1.5 mm short side rectangular HBC gel frame, the researchers were able to control 3D cardiac tissue.
“From the result of CD31 stained images, vascular network formed in both tissues. In the case of orientation-controlled tissue, the vascular network has an oriented structure similar to cardiomyocytes according to image analysis,” concluded the authors. “In the case of uncontrolled tissue, on the other hand, the vascular network does not have an oriented structure.
“This 3D cardiac tissue has the potential for usage in transplantation medical care and drug assessment because it has the native heart organ-like structure and vascular network for the fabrication of thicker and larger 3D tissue. Therefore, we believe that the 3D cardiac tissue with orientation and vascular network would be a useful tool for regenerative medicine and pharmaceutical applications.”
3D printing of cardiac tissue has been the focus of other research projects, from phantoms used by surgeons to patches and cellularized hearts , regenerated muscle tissue , and much more. What do you think of this news? Let us know your thoughts! Join the discussion of this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com .