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A Versatile Open-Source Printhead for Low-Cost 3D Microextrusion-Based Bioprinting.

Polymers (2020-10-18)
Andres Sanz-Garcia, Enrique Sodupe-Ortega, Alpha Pernía-Espinoza, Tatsuya Shimizu, Carmen Escobedo-Lucea
ABSTRACT

Three-dimensional (3D) bioprinting promises to be essential in tissue engineering for solving the rising demand for organs and tissues. Some bioprinters are commercially available, but their impact on the field of Tissue engineering (TE) is still limited due to their cost or difficulty to tune. Herein, we present a low-cost easy-to-build printhead for microextrusion-based bioprinting (MEBB) that can be installed in many desktop 3D printers to transform them into 3D bioprinters. We can extrude bioinks with precise control of print temperature between 2-60 °C. We validated the versatility of the printhead, by assembling it in three low-cost open-source desktop 3D printers. Multiple units of the printhead can also be easily put together in a single printer carriage for building a multi-material 3D bioprinter. Print resolution was evaluated by creating representative calibration models at different temperatures using natural hydrogels such as gelatin and alginate, and synthetic ones like poloxamer. Using one of the three modified low-cost 3D printers, we successfully printed cell-laden lattice constructs with cell viabilities higher than 90% after 24-h post printing. Controlling temperature and pressure according to the rheological properties of the bioinks was essential in achieving optimal printability and great cell viability. The cost per unit of our device, which can be used with syringes of different volume, is less expensive than any other commercially available product. These data demonstrate an affordable open-source printhead with the potential to become a reliable alternative to commercial bioprinters for any laboratory.

MATERIALS
Product Number
Brand
Product Description

Sigma-Aldrich
Gelatin from porcine skin, powder, gel strength ~300 g Bloom, Type A, BioReagent, suitable for electrophoresis, suitable for cell culture
Sigma-Aldrich
Alginic acid sodium salt from brown algae, BioReagent, suitable for plant cell culture, low viscosity, powder