3D bioprinting of human chondrocyte-laden nanocellulose hydrogels for patient-specific auricular cartilage regeneration
Journal article, 2016
© 2016 Elsevier B.V.Auricular cartilage tissue engineering (TE) aims to provide an effective treatment for patients with acquired or congenital auricular defects. Bioprinting has gained attention in several TE strategies for its ability to spatially control the placement of cells, biomaterials and biological molecules. Although considerable advances have been made to bioprint complex 3D tissue analogues, the development of hydrogel bioinks with good printability and bioactive properties must improve in order to advance the translation of 3D bioprinting into the clinic. In this study, the biological functionality of a bioink composed of nanofibrillated cellulose and alginate (NFC-A) is extensively evaluated for auricular cartilage TE. 3D bioprinted auricular constructs laden with human nasal chondrocytes (hNC) are cultured for up to 28 days and the redifferentiation capacity of hNCs in NFC-A is studied on gene expression as well as on protein levels. 3D bioprinting with NFC-A bioink facilitates the biofabrication of cell-laden, patient-specific auricular constructs with an open inner structure, high cell density and homogenous cell distribution. The cell-laden NFC-A constructs exhibit an excellent shape and size stability as well as an increase in cell viability and proliferation during in vitro culture. Furthermore, NFC-A bioink supports the redifferentiation of hNCs and neo-synthesis of cartilage-specific extracellular matrix components. This demonstrated that NFC-A bioink supports redifferentiation of hNCs while offering proper printability in a biologically relevant aqueous 3D environment, making it a promising tool for auricular cartilage TE and many other biomedical applications.