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Continuous Fabrication and Assembly of Spatial Cell-Laden Fibers for a Tissue-Like Construct via a Photolithographic-Based Microfluidic Chip

Wei, Dan, Sun, Jing, Bolderson, Jason, Zhong, Meiling, Dalby, Matthew John, Cusack, Maggie, Yin, Huabing, Fan, Hongsong, Zhang, Xingdong
ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 2017 v.9 no.17 pp. 14606-14617
alginates, bioactive properties, biomedical research, biomimetics, encapsulation, endothelial cells, humans, hydrogels, mechanical properties, models, tissue engineering, tissue repair, umbilical cord
Engineering three-dimensional (3D) scaffolds with in vivo like architecture and function has shown great potential for tissue regeneration. Here we developed a facile microfluidic-based strategy for the continuous fabrication of cell-laden microfibers with hierarchically organized architecture. We show that photolithographically fabricated microfluidic devices offer a simple and reliable way to create anatomically inspired complex structures. Furthermore, the use of photo-cross-linkable methacrylated alginate allows modulation of both the mechanical properties and biological activity of the hydrogels for targeted applications. Via this approach, multilayered hollow microfibers were continuously fabricated, which can be easily assembled in situ, using 3D printing, into a larger, tissue-like construct. Importantly, this biomimetic approach promoted the development of phenotypical functions of the target tissue. As a model to engineer a complex tissue construct, osteon-like fiber was biomimetically engineered, and enhanced vasculogenic and osteogenic expression were observed in the encapsulated human umbilical cord vein endothelial cells and osteoblast-like MG63 cells respectively within the osteon fibers. The capability of this approach to create functional building blocks will be advantageous for bottom-up regeneration of complex, large tissue defects and, more broadly, will benefit a variety of applications in tissue engineering and biomedical research.