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AUTHOR Nulty, Jessica and Freeman, Fiona E. and Browe, David C. and Burdis, Ross and Ahern, Daniel P. and Pitacco, Pierluca and Lee, Yu Bin and Alsberg, Eben and Kelly, Daniel J.
Title 3D Bioprinting of prevascularised implants for the repair of critically-sized bone defects [Abstract]
Year 2021
Journal/Proceedings Acta Biomaterialia
For 3D bioprinted tissues to be scaled-up to clinically relevant sizes, effective prevascularisation strategies are required to provide the necessary nutrients for normal metabolism and to remove associated waste by-products. The aim of this study was to develop a bioprinting strategy to engineer prevascularised tissues in vitro and to investigate the capacity of such constructs to enhance the vascularisation and regeneration of large bone defects in vivo. From a screen of different bioinks, a fibrin-based hydrogel was found to best support human umbilical vein endothelial cell (HUVEC) sprouting and the establishment of a microvessel network. When this bioink was combined with HUVECs and supporting human bone marrow stem/stromal cells (hBMSCs), these microvessel networks persisted in vitro. Furthermore, only bioprinted tissues containing both HUVECs and hBMSCs, that were first allowed to mature in vitro, supported robust blood vessel development in vivo. To assess the therapeutic utility of this bioprinting strategy, these bioinks were used to prevascularise 3D printed polycaprolactone (PCL) scaffolds, which were subsequently implanted into critically-sized femoral bone defects in rats. Microcomputed tomography (µCT) angiography revealed increased levels of vascularisation in vivo, which correlated with higher levels of new bone formation. Such prevascularised constructs could be used to enhance the vascularisation of a range of large tissue defects, forming the basis of multiple new bioprinted therapeutics. Statement of Significance This paper demonstrates a versatile 3D bioprinting technique to improve the vascularisation of tissue engineered constructs and further demonstrates how this method can be incorporated into a bone tissue engineering strategy to improve vascularisation in a rat femoral defect model.
AUTHOR Nulty, Jessica and Burdis, Ross and Kelly, Daniel J.
Title Biofabrication of Prevascularised Hypertrophic Cartilage Microtissues for Bone Tissue Engineering [Abstract]
Year 2021
Journal/Proceedings Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology
Bone tissue engineering (TE) has the potential to transform the treatment of challenging musculoskeletal pathologies. To date, clinical translation of many traditional TE strategies has been impaired by poor vascularisation of the implant. Addressing such challenges has motivated research into developmentally inspired TE strategies, whereby implants mimicking earlier stages of a tissue’s development are engineered in vitro and then implanted in vivo to fully mature into the adult tissue. The goal of this study was to engineer in vitro tissues mimicking the immediate developmental precursor to long bones, specifically a vascularised hypertrophic cartilage template, and to then assess the capacity of such a construct to support endochondral bone formation in vivo. To this end, we first developed a method for the generation of large numbers of hypertrophic cartilage microtissues using a microwell system, and encapsulated these microtissues into a fibrin-based hydrogel capable of supporting vasculogenesis by human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). The microwells supported the formation of bone marrow derived stem/stromal cell (BMSC) aggregates and their differentiation toward a hypertrophic cartilage phenotype over 5 weeks of cultivation, as evident by the development of a matrix rich in sulphated glycosaminoglycan (sGAG), collagen types I, II, and X, and calcium. Prevascularisation of these microtissues, undertaken in vitro 1 week prior to implantation, enhanced their capacity to mineralise, with significantly higher levels of mineralised tissue observed within such implants after 4 weeks in vivo within an ectopic murine model for bone formation. It is also possible to integrate such microtissues into 3D bioprinting systems, thereby enabling the bioprinting of scaled-up, patient-specific prevascularised implants. Taken together, these results demonstrate the development of an effective strategy for prevascularising a tissue engineered construct comprised of multiple individual microtissue “building blocks,” which could potentially be used in the treatment of challenging bone defects.