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Publications

by Keyword: Bioprinting

Molina BG, Fuentes J, Alemán C, Sánchez S, (2024). Merging BioActuation and BioCapacitive properties: A 3D bioprinted devices to self-stimulate using self-stored energy Biosensors & Bioelectronics 251, 116117

Biofabrication of three-dimensional (3D) cultures through the 3D Bioprinting technique opens new perspectives and applications of cell-laden hydrogels. However, to continue with the progress, new BioInks with specific properties must be carefully designed. In this study, we report the synthesis and 3D Bioprinting of an electroconductive BioInk made of gelatin/fibrinogen hydrogel, C2C12 mouse myoblast and 5% w/w of conductive poly (3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) nanoparticles (PEDOT NPs). The influence of PEDOT NPs, incorporated in the cell-laden BioInk, not only showed a positive effect in cells viability, differentiation and myotube functionalities, also allowed the printed constructs to behaved as BioCapacitors. Such devices were able to electrochemically store a significant amount of energy (0.5 mF/cm2), enough to self-stimulate as BioActuator, with typical contractions ranging from 27 to 38 μN, during nearly 50 min. The biofabrication of 3D constructs with the proposed electroconductive BioInk could lead to new devices for tissue engineering, biohybrid robotics or bioelectronics. © 2024

JTD Keywords: 3d bioprinting, Animal, Animals, Bioactuator, Bioactuators, Biocapacitor, Biofabrication, Bioprinting, Biosensing techniques, C2c12 myoblasts, Cells, Chemistry, Electric conductivity, Electroconductive, Electroconductive bioink, Ethylenedioxythiophenes, Genetic procedures, Hydrogel, Hydrogels, Mice, Mouse, Pedot nps, Poly (3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) nanoparticle, Printing, three-dimensional, Procedures, Synthesis (chemical), Three dimensional printing, Tissue engineering, Tissue scaffolds


Hafa, L, Breideband, L, Posada, LR, Torras, N, Martinez, E, Stelzer, EHK, Pampaloni, F, (2024). Light Sheet-Based Laser Patterning Bioprinting Produces Long-Term Viable Full-Thickness Skin Constructs Advanced Materials 36, e2306258

Tissue engineering holds great promise for biomedical research and healthcare, offering alternatives to animal models and enabling tissue regeneration and organ transplantation. Three-dimensional (3D) bioprinting stands out for its design flexibility and reproducibility. Here, we present an integrated fluorescent light sheet bioprinting and imaging system that combines high printing speed (0.66 mm3 /s) and resolution (9 μm) with light sheet-based imaging. This approach employs direct laser patterning and a static light sheet for confined voxel crosslinking in photocrosslinkable materials. The developed bioprinter enables real-time monitoring of hydrogel crosslinking using fluorescent recovery after photobleaching (FRAP) and brightfield imaging as well as in situ light sheet imaging of cells. Human fibroblasts encapsulated in a thiol-ene click chemistry-based hydrogel exhibited high viability (83% ± 4.34%) and functionality. Furthermore, full-thickness skin constructs displayed characteristics of both epidermal and dermal layers and remained viable for 41 days. The integrated approach demonstrates the capabilities of light sheet bioprinting, offering high speed, resolution, and real-time characterization. Future enhancements involving solid-state laser scanning devices such as acousto-optic deflectors and modulators will further enhance resolution and speed, opening new opportunities in light-based bioprinting and advancing tissue engineering. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

JTD Keywords: cadherin, collagen, culture, differentiation, fluorescence microscopy, full-thickness skin model, hydrogels, light sheet bioprinter, light sheet fluorescence microscopy, proliferation, survival, tissue engineering, Animal, Animals, Biofabrication, Bioprinting, Cell culture, Crosslinking, Fluorescence, Fluorescence microscopy, Full-thickness skin model, Hair follicle, Human, Humans, Hydrogel, Hydrogels, Image resolution, Laser patterning, Light sheet, Light sheet bioprinter, Light sheet fluorescence microscopy, Molecular biology, Photobleaching, Printing, three-dimensional, Procedures, Reproducibility, Reproducibility of results, Skin model, Three dimensional printing, Tissue, Tissue engineering, Tissue regeneration, Tissue scaffolds, Tissues engineerings


Pereira, I, Lopez-Martinez, MJ, Samitier, J, (2023). Advances in current in vitro models on neurodegenerative diseases Frontiers In Bioengineering And Biotechnology 11, 1260397

Many neurodegenerative diseases are identified but their causes and cure are far from being well-known. The problem resides in the complexity of the neural tissue and its location which hinders its easy evaluation. Although necessary in the drug discovery process, in vivo animal models need to be reduced and show relevant differences with the human tissues that guide scientists to inquire about other possible options which lead to in vitro models being explored. From organoids to organ-on-a-chips, 3D models are considered the cutting-edge technology in cell culture. Cell choice is a big parameter to take into consideration when planning an in vitro model and cells capable of mimicking both healthy and diseased tissue, such as induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC), are recognized as good candidates. Hence, we present a critical review of the latest models used to study neurodegenerative disease, how these models have evolved introducing microfluidics platforms, 3D cell cultures, and the use of induced pluripotent cells to better mimic the neural tissue environment in pathological conditions.

JTD Keywords: 3d in vitro models, bioprinting, ipsc cell culture, microfluidic device, 3d in vitro models, Bioprinting, Blood-brain-barrier, Cerebral organoids, Culture model, Endothelial-cells, Expression profile, Extracellular-matrix, Ipsc cell culture, Microfluidic device, Neurodegenerative diseases, On-a-chip, Pluripotent stem-cells, Shear-stress, Substrate stiffness


Torras, N, Zabalo, J, Abril, E, Carré, A, García-Díaz, M, Martínez, E, (2023). A bioprinted 3D gut model with crypt-villus structures to mimic the intestinal epithelial-stromal microenvironment Biomaterials Advances 153, 213534

The intestine is a complex tissue with a characteristic three-dimensional (3D) crypt-villus architecture, which plays a key role in the intestinal function. This function is also regulated by the intestinal stroma that actively supports the intestinal epithelium, maintaining the homeostasis of the tissue. Efforts to account for the 3D complex structure of the intestinal tissue have been focused mainly in mimicking the epithelial barrier, while solutions to include the stromal compartment are scarce and unpractical to be used in routine experiments. Here we demonstrate that by employing an optimized bioink formulation and the suitable printing parameters it is possible to produce fibroblast-laden crypt-villus structures by means of digital light projection stereolithography (DLP-SLA). This process provides excellent cell viability, accurate spatial resolution, and high printing throughput, resulting in a robust biofabrication approach that yields functional gut mucosa tissues compatible with conventional testing techniques.Copyright © 2023 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

JTD Keywords: 3d microstructure, barrier, cells, epithelial-stromal interactions, gelma-pegda soft hydrogels, growth, hydrogel, intestinal mucosa model, methacrylamide, microfabrication, proliferation, scaffold, stereolithography, 3d bioprinting, 3d microstructure, Epithelial-stromal interactions, Fibroblasts, Gelma-pegda soft hydrogels, Intestinal mucosa model


Macedo, MH, Torras, N, García-Díaz, M, Barrias, C, Sarmento, B, Martínez, E, (2023). The shape of our gut: Dissecting its impact on drug absorption in a 3D bioprinted intestinal model Biomaterials Advances 153, 213564

The small intestine is a complex organ with a characteristic architecture and a major site for drug and nutrient absorption. The three-dimensional (3D) topography organized in finger-like protrusions called villi increases surface area remarkably, granting a more efficient absorption process. The intestinal mucosa, where this process occurs, is a multilayered and multicell-type tissue barrier. In vitro intestinal models are routinely used to study different physiological and pathological processes in the gut, including compound absorption. Still, standard models are typically two-dimensional (2D) and represent only the epithelial barrier, lacking the cues offered by the 3D architecture and the stromal components present in vivo, often leading to inaccurate results. In this work, we studied the impact of the 3D architecture of the gut on drug transport using a bioprinted 3D model of the intestinal mucosa containing both the epithelial and the stromal compartments. Human intestinal fibroblasts were embedded in a previously optimized hydrogel bioink, and enterocytes and goblet cells were seeded on top to mimic the intestinal mucosa. The embedded fibroblasts thrived inside the hydrogel, remodeling the surrounding extracellular matrix. The epithelial cells fully covered the hydrogel scaffolds and formed a uniform cell layer with barrier properties close to in vivo. In particular, the villus-like model revealed overall increased permeability compared to a flat counterpart composed by the same hydrogel and cells. In addition, the efflux activity of the P-glycoprotein (P-gp) transporter was significantly reduced in the villus-like scaffold compared to a flat model, and the genetic expression of other drugs transporters was, in general, more relevant in the villus-like model. Globally, this study corroborates that the presence of the 3D architecture promotes a more physiological differentiation of the epithelial barrier, providing more accurate data on drug absorbance measurements.Copyright © 2023. Published by Elsevier B.V.

JTD Keywords: 3d architecture, alkaline-phosphatase, caco-2 cells, culture, drug development, efflux proteins, gene-expression, human-colon, intestinal absorption, intestinal models, microenvironment, paracellular transport, permeability, photopolymerization, villi, 3d architecture, 3d bioprinting, Drug development, In-vitro, Intestinal absorption, Intestinal models, Photopolymerization, Villi


Sanz-Fraile, H, Herranz-Diez, C, Ulldemolins, A, Falcones, B, Almendros, I, Gavara, N, Sunyer, R, Farré, R, Otero, J, (2023). Characterization of Bioinks Prepared via Gelifying Extracellular Matrix from Decellularized Porcine Myocardia Gels 9, 745

Since the emergence of 3D bioprinting technology, both synthetic and natural materials have been used to develop bioinks for producing cell-laden cardiac grafts. To this end, extracellular-matrix (ECM)-derived hydrogels can be used to develop scaffolds that closely mimic the complex 3D environments for cell culture. This study presents a novel cardiac bioink based on hydrogels exclusively derived from decellularized porcine myocardium loaded with human-bone-marrow-derived mesenchymal stromal cells. Hence, the hydrogel can be used to develop cell-laden cardiac patches without the need to add other biomaterials or use additional crosslinkers. The scaffold ultrastructure and mechanical properties of the bioink were characterized to optimize its production, specifically focusing on the matrix enzymatic digestion time. The cells were cultured in 3D within the developed hydrogels to assess their response. The results indicate that the hydrogels fostered inter-cell and cell-matrix crosstalk after 1 week of culture. In conclusion, the bioink developed and presented in this study holds great potential for developing cell-laden customized patches for cardiac repair.

JTD Keywords: biology, biomaterials, collagen, decellularized cardiac tissue, extracellular matrix, hydrogels, mesenchymal stromal cells, 3d bioprinting, Biomaterials, Decellularized cardiac tissue, Extracellular matrix, Hydrogels, Mesenchymal stem-cells, Mesenchymal stromal cells


Martorell, L, López-Fernández, A, García-Lizarribar, A, Sabata, R, Gálvez-Martín, P, Samitier, J, Vives, J, (2023). Preservation of critical quality attributes of mesenchymal stromal cells in 3D bioprinted structures by using natural hydrogel scaffolds Biotechnology And Bioengineering 120, 2717-2724

Three dimensional (3D) bioprinting is an emerging technology that enables complex spatial modeling of cell-based tissue engineering products, whose therapeutic potential in regenerative medicine is enormous. However, its success largely depends on the definition of a bioprintable zone, which is specific for each combination of cell-loaded hydrogels (or bioinks) and scaffolds, matching the mechanical and biological characteristics of the target tissue to be repaired. Therefore proper adjustment of the bioink formulation requires a compromise between: (i) the maintenance of cellular critical quality attributes (CQA) within a defined range of specifications to cell component, and (ii) the mechanical characteristics of the printed tissue to biofabricate. Herein, we investigated the advantages of using natural hydrogel-based bioinks to preserve the most relevant CQA in bone tissue regeneration applications, particularly focusing on cell viability and osteogenic potential of multipotent mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) displaying tripotency in vitro, and a phenotypic profile of 99.9% CD105(+)/CD45,(-) 10.3% HLA-DR,(+) 100.0% CD90,(+) and 99.2% CD73(+)/CD31(-) expression. Remarkably, hyaluronic acid, fibrin, and gelatin allowed for optimal recovery of viable cells, while preserving MSC's proliferation capacity and osteogenic potency in vitro. This was achieved by providing a 3D structure with a compression module below 8.8 +/- 0.5 kPa, given that higher values resulted in cell loss by mechanical stress. Beyond the biocompatibility of naturally occurring polymers, our results highlight the enhanced protection on CQA exerted by bioinks of natural origin (preferably HA, gelatin, and fibrin) on MSC, bone marrow during the 3D bioprinting process, reducing shear stress and offering structural support for proliferation and osteogenic differentiation.

JTD Keywords: critical quality attributes, human mesenchymal stromal cells, osteogenic differentiation, potency, substances of human origin (soho), 3d bioprinting, Critical quality attributes, Human mesenchymal stromal cells, Osteogenic differentiation, Potency, Stem-cells, Substances of human origin (soho)


García-Lizarribar, A, Villasante, A, Lopez-Martin, JA, Flandez, M, Soler-Vázquez, MC, Serra, D, Herrero, L, Sagrera, A, Efeyan, A, Samitier, J, (2023). 3D bioprinted functional skeletal muscle models have potential applications for studies of muscle wasting in cancer cachexia Biomaterials Advances 150, 213426

Acquired muscle diseases such as cancer cachexia are responsible for the poor prognosis of many patients suffering from cancer. In vitro models are needed to study the underlying mechanisms of those pathologies. Extrusion bioprinting is an emerging tool to emulate the aligned architecture of fibers while implementing additive manufacturing techniques in tissue engineering. However, designing bioinks that reconcile the rheological needs of bioprinting and the biological requirements of muscle tissue is a challenging matter. Here we formulate a biomaterial with dual crosslinking to modulate the physical properties of bioprinted models. We design 3D bioprinted muscle models that resemble the mechanical properties of native tissue and show improved proliferation and high maturation of differentiated myotubes suggesting that the GelMA-AlgMA-Fibrin biomaterial possesses myogenic properties. The electrical stimulation of the 3D model confirmed the contractile capability of the tissue and enhanced the formation of sarcomeres. Regarding the functionality of the models, they served as platforms to recapitulate skeletal muscle diseases such as muscle wasting produced by cancer cachexia. The genetic expression of 3D models demonstrated a better resemblance to the muscular biopsies of cachectic mouse models. Altogether, this biomaterial is aimed to fabricate manipulable skeletal muscle in vitro models in a non-costly, fast and feasible manner.Copyright © 2023 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

JTD Keywords: cachexia, constructs, skeletal muscle, tissue-engineering, Bioprinting, Cachexia, Hydrogels, Skeletal muscle, Tissue-engineering


De Chiara, F, Miñana, AF, Azcón, JR, (2023). Micro-lAIver: Artificial intelligence-powered drug screening platform for 3D-bioprinted human liver microspheres Tissue Engineering Part a 29, PP‐083

Fernandez, BB, Vinolas, SR, Bagci, G, Amodio, SP, Concheiro, A, Lorenzo, CA, Engel, E, (2023). A 3D in vitro model of breast cancer model using decellularized mammary glands bioinks Tissue Engineering Part a 29, PP-387

Pereira, I, Lopez-Martinez, MJ, Villasante, A, Introna, C, Tornero, D, Canals, JM, Samitier, J, (2023). Hyaluronic acid-based bioink improves the differentiation and network formation of neural progenitor cells Frontiers In Bioengineering And Biotechnology 11, 1110547

Introduction: Three-dimensional (3D) bioprinting is a promising technique for the development of neuronal in vitro models because it controls the deposition of materials and cells. Finding a biomaterial that supports neural differentiation in vitro while ensuring compatibility with the technique of 3D bioprinting of a self-standing construct is a challenge.Methods: In this study, gelatin methacryloyl (GelMA), methacrylated alginate (AlgMA), and hyaluronic acid (HA) were examined by exploiting their biocompatibility and tunable mechanical properties to resemble the extracellular matrix (ECM) and to create a suitable material for printing neural progenitor cells (NPCs), supporting their long-term differentiation. NPCs were printed and differentiated for up to 15 days, and cell viability and neuronal differentiation markers were assessed throughout the culture.Results and Discussion: This composite biomaterial presented the desired physical properties to mimic the ECM of the brain with high water intake, low stiffness, and slow degradation while allowing the printing of defined structures. The viability rates were maintained at approximately 80% at all time points. However, the levels of beta-III tubulin marker increased over time, demonstrating the compatibility of this biomaterial with neuronal cell culture and differentiation. Furthermore, these cells showed increased maturation with corresponding functional properties, which was also demonstrated by the formation of a neuronal network that was observed by recording spontaneous activity via Ca2+ imaging.

JTD Keywords: biomaterials, bioprinting, differentiation, in vitro models, neural progenitor cells, 2d, Biomaterials, Bioprinting, C17.2, Differentiation, Extracellular-matrix, Hydrogels, In vitro models, In-vitro, Neural progenitor cells, Neuronal models, Proliferation, Scaffolds, Stem-cells, Substrate stiffness


Bonany, M, del-Mazo-Barbara, L, Espanol, M, Ginebra, MP, (2022). Microsphere incorporation as a strategy to tune the biological performance of bioinks Journal Of Tissue Engineering 13, 20417314221119896

Although alginate is widely used as a matrix in the formulation of cell-laden inks, this polymer often requires laborious processing strategies due to its lack of cell adhesion moieties. The main objective of the present work was to explore the incorporation of microspheres into alginate-based bioinks as a simple and tuneable way to solve the cell adhesion problems, while adding extra biological functionality and improving their mechanical properties. To this end, three types of microspheres with different mineral contents (i.e. gelatine with 0% of hydroxyapatite, gelatine with 25 wt% of hydroxyapatite nanoparticles and 100 wt% of calcium -deficient hydroxyapatite) were synthesised and incorporated into the formulation of cell-laden inks. The results showed that the addition of microspheres generally improved the rheological properties of the ink, favoured cell proliferation and positively affected osteogenic cell differentiation. Furthermore, this differentiation was found to be influenced by the type of microsphere and the ability of the cells to migrate towards them, which was highly dependent on the stiffness of the bioink. In this regard, Ca2+ supplementation in the cell culture medium had a pronounced effect on the relaxation of the stiffness of these cell-loaded inks, influencing the overall cell performance. In conclusion, we have developed a powerful and tuneable strategy for the fabrication of alginate-based bioinks with enhanced biological characteristics by incorporating microspheres into the initial ink formulation.; [GRAPHICS]; .

JTD Keywords: 3d bioprinting, alginate, bioink, gelatine, hydroxyapatite, 3d bioprinting, Alginate, Behavior, Bioink, Cell-culture, Gelatin, Gelatine, Hydrogels, Hydroxyapatite, Laden, Microspheres, Mineralization, Scaffolds


Blanco-Fernandez, B, Rey-Vinolas, S, Bagci, G, Rubi-Sans, G, Otero, J, Navajas, D, Perez-Amodio, S, Engel, E, (2022). Bioprinting Decellularized Breast Tissue for the Development of Three-Dimensional Breast Cancer Models Acs Applied Materials & Interfaces 14, 29467-29482

The tumor extracellular matrix (ECM) plays a vital role in tumor progression and drug resistance. Previous studies have shown that breast tissue-derived matrices could be an important biomaterial to recreate the complexity of the tumor ECM. We have developed a method for decellularizing and delipidating a porcine breast tissue (TDM) compatible with hydrogel formation. The addition of gelatin methacrylamide and alginate allows this TDM to be bioprinted by itself with good printability, shape fidelity, and cytocompatibility. Furthermore, this bioink has been tuned to more closely recreate the breast tumor by incorporating collagen type I (Col1). Breast cancer cells (BCCs) proliferate in both TDM bioinks forming cell clusters and spheroids. The addition of Col1 improves the printability of the bioink as well as increases BCC proliferation and reduces doxorubicin sensitivity due to a downregulation of HSP90. TDM bioinks also allow a precise three-dimensional printing of scaffolds containing BCCs and stromal cells and could be used to fabricate artificial tumors. Taken together, we have proven that these novel bioinks are good candidates for biofabricating breast cancer models.

JTD Keywords: 3d in vitro cancer model, bioprinting, breast tissue, 3d in vitro cancer model, Bioink, Bioprinting, Breast tissue, Crosstalk, Decellularization, Extracellular-matrix, Growth, Hydrogels, In-vitro, Inhibition, Mechanical-properties, Metastasis, Proliferation


Otero, J, Falcones, B, Sanz, H, Marhuenda, E, Mendizabal, I, Cabrera, I, Almendros, I, Navajas, D, Farre, R, (2022). EXTRACELLULAR MATRIX HYDROGELS FOR 3D BIOPRINTING LUNG RESIDENT MESENCHYMAL STROMAL CELLS (Abstract 1412) Tissue Engineering Part a 28, S396-S396

INTRODUCTION: One of the main hypotheses in mesenchymalstromal cells ( MSCs) research is that the microenvironment deter-mines the way that cells behave. Our aim is to investigate how bio-printing and 3D culturing lung resident MSCs in porcine lung-derived extracellular matrix (ECM) hydrogels produce changes incell behavior. METHODS: Rat primary lung resident MSCs werebioprinted and 3D cultured in porcine lung ECM hydrogels pre-senting a stiffness of 0.7kPa. After seven days of 3D culture, cellswere harvested from the scaffolds. Cell adhesion and actin/paxillinstaining tests were conducted with the harvested and control cells byseeding them onto specific well-plates for optical imaging and al-lowed to attach them to the plate for 2h. The expression of surfacechemokine receptor CXCR4 was quantified by qRT-PCR. RE-SULTS: Compared with cells cultured in standard tissue cultureplates, cells harvested from the lung ECM hydrogel scaffolds formedfocal adhesions 2-fold longer. Moreover, 10-fold more cells wereadhered to the substrate after 2h. Finally, the expression of CXCR4chemokine receptor showed a more than 20-fold increase in thepreconditioned cells. DISCUSSION: The data indicate that culturinglung MSCs in the ECM has major impact in their adhesion capacityand in the expression of one the main receptors involved in severalrelevant processes in vivo. Thus, lung ECM-derived hydrogels havethe potential to be used as a scaffold to develop novel in vitro modelsto better understand mechanisms in MSCs.

JTD Keywords: Bioprinting, Hydrogel, Mesenchymal stromal cells


Breideband, L, Pampaloni, F, Martensson, G, Eklund, R, Wurst, H, Angres, B, Torras, N, Martinez, E, Shalom-Feuerstein, R, (2022). BIOPRINTING BY LIGHT SHEET LITHOGRAPHY: ENGINEERING COMPLEX TISSUES WITH HIGH RESOLUTION AT HIGH SPEED (Abstract 1581) Tissue Engineering Part a 28, S443-S443

Three-dimensional bioprinting (3D bioprinting) has been at theforefront of tissue engineering research in the past years, with evermore efficient systems reaching the market(1). While existing 3Dbioprinting techniques are numerous and varied, they are limited bylong printing times when used at high resolution(2). The techniquedescribed in this work aims at enabling fast and accurate productionof monolayered skin constructs.To achieve shorter production times, a digital scanned light sheetis used to produce patterns of polymerized hydrogel, which enablesthe printing of a full three-dimensional plane in a matter of a fewhundred milliseconds. The high resolution resides in the properties ofthe light sheet itself – the width of the light sheet represents the z-axial resolution of the system (as low as 10mm) and the x-axialresolution is determined by the intensity profile of the gaussian beam(around 50mm). In order to fully exploit this system, the hydrogelused to encapsulate the cells must therefore be tailor-made for pho-toactivated cross-linking.As a proof of concept, a light sheet microscope is used as a po-lymerization source for novel photosensitive hydrogels. The up-coming hardware, software, chemical and biological improvementsneeded to reach the full potential of this system are expected toeventually be sufficient to print a complete skin construct, whichcould be used in the drug development industry, or as a graft forregenerative medicine therapy. Additionally, the constructs can beused to reduce and even replace animal testing for drug or cosmetictesting.

JTD Keywords: 3d bioprinting, Light sheet microscopy, Stereolithography


Mestre, R, García, N, Patiño, T, Guix, M, Fuentes, J, Valerio-Santiago, M, Almiñana, N, Sánchez, S, (2021). 3D-bioengineered model of human skeletal muscle tissue with phenotypic features of aging for drug testing purposes Biofabrication 13, 45011

Three-dimensional engineering of skeletal muscle is becoming increasingly relevant for tissue engineering, disease modeling and bio-hybrid robotics, where flexible, versatile and multidisciplinary approaches for the evaluation of tissue differentiation, functionality and force measurement are required. This works presents a 3D-printed platform of bioengineered human skeletal muscle which can efficiently model the three-dimensional structure of native tissue, while providing information about force generation and contraction profiles. Proper differentiation and maturation of myocytes is demonstrated by the expression of key myo-proteins using immunocytochemistry and analyzed by confocal microscopy, and the functionality assessed via electrical stimulation and analysis of contraction kinetics. To validate the flexibility of this platform for complex tissue modeling, the bioengineered muscle is treated with tumor necrosis factor α to mimic the conditions of aging, which is supported by morphological and functional changes. Moreover, as a proof of concept, the effects of Argireline® Amplified peptide, a cosmetic ingredient that causes muscle relaxation, are evaluated in both healthy and aged tissue models. Therefore, the results demonstrate that this 3D-bioengineered human muscle platform could be used to assess morphological and functional changes in the aging process of muscular tissue with potential applications in biomedicine, cosmetics and bio-hybrid robotics.

JTD Keywords: 3d bioprinting, bio-actuator, drug testing, human skeletal muscle, muscle ageing, platform, tnf-alpha, 3d bioprinting, Bio-actuator, Drug testing, Human skeletal muscle, Muscle ageing, Necrosis-factor-alpha


Falcones, B, Sanz-Fraile, H, Marhuenda, E, Mendizábal, I, Cabrera-Aguilera, I, Malandain, N, Uriarte, JJ, Almendros, I, Navajas, D, Weiss, DJ, Farré, R, Otero, J, (2021). Bioprintable lung extracellular matrix hydrogel scaffolds for 3d culture of mesenchymal stromal cells Polymers 13, 2350

Mesenchymal stromal cell (MSC)-based cell therapy in acute respiratory diseases is based on MSC secretion of paracrine factors. Several strategies have proposed to improve this are being explored including pre-conditioning the MSCs prior to administration. We here propose a strategy for improving the therapeutic efficacy of MSCs based on cell preconditioning by growing them in native extracellular matrix (ECM) derived from the lung. To this end, a bioink with tunable stiffness based on decellularized porcine lung ECM hydrogels was developed and characterized. The bioink was suitable for 3D culturing of lung-resident MSCs without the need for additional chemical or physical crosslinking. MSCs showed good viability, and contraction assays showed the existence of cell–matrix interactions in the bioprinted scaffolds. Adhesion capacity and length of the focal adhesions formed were increased for the cells cultured within the lung hydrogel scaffolds. Also, there was more than a 20-fold increase of the expression of the CXCR4 receptor in the 3D-cultured cells compared to the cells cultured in plastic. Secretion of cytokines when cultured in an in vitro model of lung injury showed a decreased secretion of pro-inflammatory mediators for the cells cultured in the 3D scaffolds. Moreover, the morphology of the harvested cells was markedly different with respect to conventionally (2D) cultured MSCs. In conclusion, the developed bioink can be used to bioprint structures aimed to improve preconditioning MSCs for therapeutic purposes.

JTD Keywords: 3d bioprinting, acute lung injury, adhesion, collagen, differentiation, dimension, elastic properties, extracellular matrix, hydrogels, in-vitro, mechanical-properties, mesenchymal stromal cells, microenvironment, potentiate, tissue engineering, 3d bioprinting, Acute lung injury, Extracellular matrix, Hydrogels, Mesenchymal stromal cells, Stem-cells, Tissue engineering


Sanz-Fraile, H., Amoros, S., Mendizabal, I., Galvez-Monton, C., Prat-Vidal, C., Bayes-Genis, A., Navajas, D., Farre, R., Otero, J., (2020). Silk-reinforced collagen hydrogels with raised multiscale stiffness for mesenchymal cells 3D culture Tissue Engineering - Part A 26, (5-6), 358-370

Type I collagen hydrogels are of high interest in tissue engineering. With the evolution of 3D bioprinting technologies, a high number of collagen-based scaffolds have been reported for the development of 3D cell cultures. A recent proposal was to mix collagen with silk fibroin derived from Bombyx mori silkworm. Nevertheless, due to the difficulties in the preparation and the characteristics of the protein, several problems such as phase separation and collagen denaturation appear during the procedure. Therefore, the common solution is to diminish the concentration of collagen although in that way the most biologically relevant component is reduced. In this study, we present a new, simple, and effective method to develop a collagen-silk hybrid hydrogel with high collagen concentration and with increased stiffness approaching that of natural tissues, which could be of high interest for the development of cardiac patches for myocardial regeneration and for preconditioning of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to improve their therapeutic potential. Sericin in the silk was preserved by using a physical solubilizing procedure that results in a preserved fibrous structure of type I collagen, as shown by ultrastructural imaging. The macro- and micromechanical properties of the hybrid hydrogels measured by tensile stretch and atomic force microscopy, respectively, showed a more than twofold stiffening than the collagen-only hydrogels. Rheological measurements showed improved printability properties for the developed biomaterial. The suitability of the hydrogels for 3D cell culture was assessed by 3D bioprinting bone marrow-derived MSCs cultured within the scaffolds. The result was a biomaterial with improved printability characteristics that better resembled the mechanical properties of natural soft tissues while preserving biocompatibility owing to the high concentration of collagen. In this study, we report the development of silk microfiber-reinforced type I collagen hydrogels for 3D bioprinting and cell culture. In contrast with previously reported studies, a novel physical method allowed the preservation of the silk sericin protein. Hydrogels were stable, showed no phase separation between the biomaterials, and they presented improved printability. An increase between two- and threefold of the multiscale stiffness of the scaffolds was achieved with no need of using additional crosslinkers or complex methods, which could be of high relevance for cardiac patches development and for preconditioning mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) for therapeutic applications. We demonstrate that bone marrow-derived MSCs can be effectively bioprinted and 3D cultured within the stiffened structures.

JTD Keywords: 3D bioprinting, Collagen, Hydrogel, Mesenchymal cells, Multiscale mechanics, Silk


Cofiño, C., Perez-Amodio, S., Semino, C. E., Engel, E., Mateos-Timoneda, M. A., (2019). Development of a self-assembled peptide/methylcellulose-based bioink for 3D bioprinting Macromolecular Materials and Engineering 304, (11), 1900353

The introduction of 3D bioprinting to fabricate living constructs with tailored architecture has provided a new paradigm for biofabrication, with the potential to overcome several drawbacks of conventional scaffold-based tissue regeneration strategies. Hydrogel-based materials are suitable candidates regarding cell biocompatibility but often display poor mechanical properties. Self-assembling peptides are a promising source of biomaterials to be used as 3D scaffolds based on their similarity to extracellular matrices (structurally and mechanically). In this study, an advanced bioink for biofabrication is presented based on the optimization of a RAD16-I-based biomaterial. The strategy followed to build 3D predefined structures by 3D printing is based on an enhancement of bioink viscosity by adding methylcellulose (MC) to a RAD16-I solution. The resultant constructs display high shape fidelity and stability and embedded human mesenchymal stem cells present high viability after 7 days of culture. Moreover, cells are also able to differentiate to the adipogenic lineage, suggesting the suitability of this novel biomaterial for soft tissue engineering applications.

JTD Keywords: 3D bioprinting, Biofabrication, Bioinks, Self-assembling peptides, Tissue engineering


Mestre, R., Patiño, T., Guix, M., Barceló, X., Sánchez, S., (2019). Design, optimization and characterization of bio-hybrid actuators based on 3D-bioprinted skeletal muscle tissue Biomimetic and Biohybrid Systems 8th International Conference, Living Machines 2019 (Lecture Notes in Computer Science) , Springer International Publishing (Nara, Japan) 11556, 205-215

The field of bio-hybrid robotics aims at the integration of biological components with artificial materials in order to take advantage of many unique features occurring in nature, such as adaptability, self-healing or resilience. In particular, skeletal muscle tissue has been used to fabricate bio-actuators or bio-robots that can perform simple actions. In this paper, we present 3D bioprinting as a versatile technique to develop these kinds of actuators and we focus on the importance of optimizing the designs and properly characterizing their performance. For that, we introduce a method to calculate the force generated by the bio-actuators based on the deflection of two posts included in the bio-actuator design by means of image processing algorithms. Finally, we present some results related to the adaptation, controllability and force modulation of our bio-actuators, paving the way towards a design- and optimization-driven development of more complex 3D-bioprinted bio-actuators.

JTD Keywords: 3D bioprinting, Bio-hybrid robotics, Muscle-based bio-actuators