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Title: Complex 3D‐Printed Microchannels within Cell‐Degradable Hydrogels

3D‐printing is emerging as a technology to introduce microchannels into hydrogels, for the perfusion of engineered constructs. Although numerous techniques have been developed, new techniques are still needed to obtain the complex geometries of blood vessels and with materials that permit desired cellular responses. Here, a printing process where a shear‐thinning and self‐healing hydrogel “ink” is injected directly into a “support” hydrogel with similar properties is reported. The support hydrogel is further engineered to undergo stabilization through a thiol‐ene reaction, permitting (i) the washing of the ink to produce microchannels and (ii) tunable properties depending on the crosslinker design. When adhesive peptides are included in the support hydrogel, endothelial cells form confluent monolayers within the channels, across a range of printed configurations (e.g., straight, stenosis, spiral). When protease‐degradable crosslinkers are used for the support hydrogel and gradients of angiogenic factors are introduced, endothelial cells sprout into the support hydrogel in the direction of the gradient. This printing approach is used to investigate the influence of channel curvature on angiogenic sprouting and increased sprouting is observed at curved locations. Ultimately, this technique can be used for a range of biomedical applications, from engineering vascularized tissue constructs to modeling in vitro cultures.

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Author(s) / Creator(s):
 ;  ;  ;  
Publisher / Repository:
Wiley Blackwell (John Wiley & Sons)
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Advanced Functional Materials
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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