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Biofabrication

3D printing of composite tissue with complex shape applied to ear regeneration.


PMID 24464765

Abstract

In the ear reconstruction field, tissue engineering enabling the regeneration of the ear's own tissue has been considered to be a promising technology. However, the ear is known to be difficult to regenerate using traditional methods due to its complex shape and composition. In this study, we used three-dimensional (3D) printing technology including a sacrificial layer process to regenerate both the auricular cartilage and fat tissue. The main part was printed with poly-caprolactone (PCL) and cell-laden hydrogel. At the same time, poly-ethylene-glycol (PEG) was also deposited as a sacrificial layer to support the main structure. After complete fabrication, PEG can be easily removed in aqueous solutions, and the procedure for removing PEG has no effect on the cell viability. For fabricating composite tissue, chondrocytes and adipocytes differentiated from adipose-derived stromal cells were encapsulated in hydrogel to dispense into the cartilage and fat regions, respectively, of ear-shaped structures. Finally, we fabricated the composite structure for feasibility testing, satisfying expectations for both the geometry and anatomy of the native ear. We also carried out in vitro assays for evaluating the chondrogenesis and adipogenesis of the cell-printed structure. As a result, the possibility of ear regeneration using 3D printing technology which allowed tissue formation from the separately printed chondrocytes and adipocytes was demonstrated.