Investigation of cell distribution during inkjet-based bioprinting of cell-laden bioink

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2022-08

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Abstract

Organ donor shortage remains an unsolved challenge, however, the appearance of three-dimensional (3D) bioprinting has provided a promising solution to solve the organ transplantation problem. Bioprinting, utilizing a variety of advanced manufacturing technologies to precisely pattern biological materials and living cells, has been widely applied to tissue engineering and regenerative medicine with the aim of developing biological substitutes to restore, replace, or regenerate defective tissues and organs. Among all the 3D bioprinting technologies, inkjet-based bioprinting is preferred due to its scale-up techniques, simple setup, and good process controllability. The bioink used for 3D bioprinting consists of the biological materials and living cells. Because of the dominant gravitational force, the suspended cells in the bioink sediment resulting in the local cell concentration increase at the bottom as well as the corresponding cell aggregation. Cell aggregation has been broadly recognized a critical challenge significantly affecting the printing performance in 3D bioprinting. It is of great importance to understand the cell aggregation mechanism and its effects on the printing performance in inkjet-based bioprinting. In this dissertation, the printing quality is firstly characterized by studying the post-printing cell distribution and cell viability after inkjet-based bioprinting process. Furthermore, cell sedimentation and cell aggregation mechanism are investigated, and several cell sedimentation-related parameters and the percentages of the cells remaining as individual cells and forming cell aggregates both during and after inkjet-based bioprinting are characterized. Lastly, the effects of cell aggregation on the printing reliability during inkjet-based bioprinting are comprehensively investigated and characterized by studying the stability of the droplet formation process. The effects of cell aggregation on the printing quality after inkjet-based bioprinting are investigated and characterized by studying the post-printing cell distribution. The experimental results show that cell sedimentation and the resulting cell aggregation phenomenon become more severe within the bioink composed of low polymer and cell concentrations and the effects of cell aggregation on the printing performance during and after inkjet-based bioprinting process are significant. The outputs of this research could help to better understand the cell sedimentation and the resulting cell aggregation mechanism, improve the printing performance, and enable inkjet-based bioprinting a viable approach to fabricate functional tissues and organs.


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Inkjet-Based Bioprinting, Cell Distribution, Cell Viability, Cell Sedimentation, Cell Aggregation, Printing Reliability and Quality

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