As a 3D bioprinting technique, hydrogel stereolithography has historically been limited in its ability to capture the spatial heterogeneity that permeates mammalian tissues and dictates structure–function relationships. This limitation stems directly from the difficulty of preventing unwanted material mixing when switching between different liquid bioinks. Accordingly, we present the development, characterization, and application of a multi-material stereolithography bioprinter that provides controlled material selection, yields precise regional feature alignment, and minimizes bioink mixing. Fluorescent tracers were first used to highlight the broad design freedoms afforded by this fabrication strategy, complemented by morphometric image analysis to validate architectural fidelity. To evaluate the bioactivity of printed gels, 344SQ lung adenocarcinoma cells were printed in a 3D core/shell architecture. These cells exhibited native phenotypic behavior as evidenced by apparent proliferation and formation of spherical multicellular aggregates. Cells were also printed as pre-formed multicellular aggregates, which appropriately developed invasive protrusions in response to hTGF-β1. Finally, we constructed a simplified model of intratumoral heterogeneity with two separate sub-populations of 344SQ cells, which together grew over 14 days to form a dense regional interface. Together, these studies highlight the potential of multi-material stereolithography to probe heterotypic interactions between distinct cell types in tissue-specific microenvironments.
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- Scientific Reports
- Nature Publishing Group
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- National Science Foundation
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