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Creators/Authors contains: "Brunel, Lucia G."

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  1. Abstract

    The biofabrication of three-dimensional (3D) tissues that recapitulate organ-specific architecture and function would benefit from temporal and spatial control of cell-cell interactions. Bioprinting, while potentially capable of achieving such control, is poorly suited to organoids with conserved cytoarchitectures that are susceptible to plastic deformation. Here, we develop a platform, termed Spatially Patterned Organoid Transfer (SPOT), consisting of an iron-oxide nanoparticle laden hydrogel and magnetized 3D printer to enable the controlled lifting, transport, and deposition of organoids. We identify cellulose nanofibers as both an ideal biomaterial for encasing organoids with magnetic nanoparticles and a shear-thinning, self-healing support hydrogel for maintaining the spatial positioning of organoids to facilitate the generation of assembloids. We leverage SPOT to create precisely arranged assembloids composed of human pluripotent stem cell-derived neural organoids and patient-derived glioma organoids. In doing so, we demonstrate the potential for the SPOT platform to construct assembloids which recapitulate key developmental processes and disease etiologies.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2024
  2. Three-dimensional bioprinting has emerged as a promising tool for spatially patterning cells to fabricate models of human tissue. Here, we present an engineered bioink material designed to have viscoelastic mechanical behavior, similar to that of living tissue. This viscoelastic bioink is cross-linked through dynamic covalent bonds, a reversible bond type that allows for cellular remodeling over time. Viscoelastic materials are challenging to use as inks, as one must tune the kinetics of the dynamic cross-links to allow for both extrudability and long-term stability. We overcome this challenge through the use of small molecule catalysts and competitors that temporarily modulate the cross-linking kinetics and degree of network formation. These inks were then used to print a model of breast cancer cell invasion, where the inclusion of dynamic cross-links was found to be required for the formation of invasive protrusions. Together, we demonstrate the power of engineered, dynamic bioinks to recapitulate the native cellular microenvironment for disease modeling.

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  3. Abstract

    Microextrusion‐based 3D bioprinting into support baths has emerged as a promising technique to pattern soft biomaterials into complex, macroscopic structures. It is hypothesized that interactions between inks and support baths, which are often composed of granular microgels, can be modulated to control the microscopic structure within these macroscopic‐printed constructs. Using printed collagen bioinks crosslinked either through physical self‐assembly or bioorthogonal covalent chemistry, it is demonstrated that microscopic porosity is introduced into collagen inks printed into microgel support baths but not bulk gel support baths. The overall porosity is governed by the ratio between the ink's shear viscosity and the microgel support bath's zero‐shear viscosity. By adjusting the flow rate during extrusion, the ink's shear viscosity is modulated, thus controlling the extent of microscopic porosity independent of the ink composition. For covalently crosslinked collagen, printing into support baths comprised of gelatin microgels (15‐50 µm) results in large pores (≈40 µm) that allow human corneal mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) to readily spread, while control samples of cast collagen or collagen printed in non‐granular support baths do not allow cell spreading. Taken together, these data demonstrate a new method to impart controlled microscale porosity into 3D printed hydrogels using granular microgel support baths.

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  4. Abstract Three-dimensional (3D) bioprinting is a promising technique for spatially patterning cells and materials into constructs that mimic native tissues and organs. However, a trade-off exists between printability and biological function, where weak materials are typically more suited for 3D cell culture but exhibit poor shape fidelity when printed in air. Recently, a new class of assistive materials has emerged to overcome this limitation and enable fabrication of more complex, biologically relevant geometries, even when using soft materials as bioinks. These materials include support baths, which bioinks are printed into, and sacrificial inks, which are printed themselves and then later removed. Support baths are commonly yield-stress materials that provide physical confinement during the printing process to improve resolution and shape fidelity. Sacrificial inks have primarily been used to create void spaces and pattern perfusable networks, but they can also be combined directly with the bioink to change its mechanical properties for improved printability or increased porosity. Here, we outline the advantages of using such assistive materials in 3D bioprinting, define their material property requirements, and offer case study examples of how these materials are used in practice. Finally, we discuss the remaining challenges and future opportunities in the development of assistive materials that will propel the bioprinting field forward toward creating full-scale, biomimetic tissues and organs. 
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  5. Abstract

    While the human body has many different examples of perfusable structures with complex geometries, biofabrication methods to replicate this complexity are still lacking. Specifically, the fabrication of self‐supporting, branched networks with multiple channel diameters is particularly challenging. Herein, the Gelation of Uniform Interfacial Diffusant in Embedded 3D Printing (GUIDE‐3DP) approach for constructing perfusable networks of interconnected channels with precise control over branching geometries and vessel sizes is presented. To achieve user‐specified channel dimensions, this technique leverages the predictable diffusion of cross‐linking reaction‐initiators released from sacrificial inks printed within a hydrogel precursor. The versatility of GUIDE‐3DP to be adapted for use with diverse physicochemical cross‐linking mechanisms is demonstrated by designing seven printable material systems. Importantly, GUIDE‐3DP allows for the independent tunability of both the inner and outer diameters of the printed channels and the ability to fabricate seamless junctions at branch points. This 3D bioprinting platform is uniquely suited for fabricating lumenized structures with complex shapes characteristic of multiple hollow vessels throughout the body. As an exemplary application, the fabrication of vasculature‐like networks lined with endothelial cells is demonstrated. GUIDE‐3DP represents an important advance toward the fabrication of self‐supporting, physiologically relevant networks with intricate and perfusable geometries.

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  6. Abstract

    The encapsulation of cells within gel‐phase materials to form bioinks offers distinct advantages for next‐generation 3D bioprinting. 3D bioprinting has emerged as a promising tool for patterning cells, but the technology remains limited in its ability to produce biofunctional, tissue‐like constructs due to a dearth of materials suitable for bioinks. While early demonstrations commonly used viscous polymers optimized for printability, these materials often lacked cell compatibility and biological functionality. In response, advanced materials that exist in the gel phase during the entire printing process are being developed, since hydrogels are uniquely positioned to both protect cells during extrusion and provide biological signals to embedded cells as the construct matures during culture. Here, an overview of the design considerations for gel‐phase materials as bioinks is presented, with a focus on their mechanical, biochemical, and dynamic gel properties. Current challenges and opportunities that arise due to the fact that bioprinted constructs are active, living hydrogels composed of both acellular and cellular components are also evaluated. Engineering hydrogels with consideration of cells as an intrinsic component of the printed bioink will enable control over the evolution of the living construct after printing to achieve greater biofunctionality.

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  7. Abstract

    Three‐dimensional (3D) bioprinting is a promising technology to produce tissue‐like structures, but a lack of diversity in bioinks is a major limitation. Ideally each cell type would be printed in its own customizable bioink. To fulfill this need for a universally applicable bioink strategy, a versatile bioorthogonal bioink crosslinking mechanism that is cell compatible and works with a range of polymers is developed. This family of materials is termed UNIversal, Orthogonal Network (UNION) bioinks. As demonstration of UNION bioink versatility, gelatin, hyaluronic acid (HA), recombinant elastin‐like protein (ELP), and polyethylene glycol (PEG) are each used as backbone polymers to create inks with storage moduli spanning from 200 to 10 000 Pa. Because UNION bioinks are crosslinked by a common chemistry, multiple materials can be printed together to form a unified, cohesive structure. This approach is compatible with any support bath that enables diffusion of UNION crosslinkers. Both matrix‐adherent human corneal mesenchymal stromal cells and non‐matrix‐adherent human induced pluripotent stem cell‐derived neural progenitor spheroids are printed with UNION bioinks. The cells retained high viability and expressed characteristic phenotypic markers after printing. Thus, UNION bioinks are a versatile strategy to expand the toolkit of customizable materials available for 3D bioprinting.

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