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Voxelated Bioprinting of Mechanically Robust Multiscale Porous Scaffolds for Pancreatic Islets

By Jinchang Zhu, Yi He, Linlin Kong, Zhijian He, Kaylen Kang, Shannon Grady, Leander Nguyen, Dong Chen, Yong Wang, Jose Oberholzer, Liheng Cai

Posted 30 Jun 2021
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.06.29.449587

Three-dimensional (3D) bioprinting additively assembles bio-inks to manufacture tissue-mimicking biological constructs, but with the typical building blocks limited to one-dimensional filaments. Here, we develop a technique for the digital assembly of spherical particles (DASP), which are effectively zero-dimensional voxels --the basic unit of 3D structures. We show that DASP enables on-demand generation, deposition, and assembly of viscoelastic bio-ink droplets. We establish a phase diagram that outlines the viscoelasticity of bio-inks required for printing spherical particles of good fidelity. Moreover, we develop a strategy for engineering bio-inks with independently controllable viscoelasticity and mesh size. Using DASP, we create mechanically robust, multiscale porous scaffolds composed of interconnected yet distinguishable hydrogel particles. Finally, we demonstrate the application of the scaffolds in encapsulating human pancreatic islets for responsive insulin release. Together with the knowledge of bio-ink design, DASP might be used to engineer highly heterogeneous yet tightly organized tissue constructs for therapeutic applications.

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