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AUTHOR Eltaher, Hoda M. and Abukunna, Fatima E. and Ruiz-Cantu, Laura and Stone, Zack and Yang, Jing and Dixon, James E.
Title Human-scale tissues with patterned vascular networks by additive manufacturing of sacrificial sugar-protein composites [Abstract]
Year 2020
Journal/Proceedings Acta Biomaterialia
Combating necrosis, by supplying nutrients and removing waste, presents the major challenge for engineering large three-dimensional (3D) tissues. Previous elegant work used 3D printing with carbohydrate glass as a cytocompatible sacrificial template to create complex engineered tissues with vascular networks (Miller et al. 2012, Nature Materials). The fragile nature of this material compounded with the technical complexity needed to create high-resolution structures led us to create a flexible sugar-protein composite, termed Gelatin-sucrose matrix (GSM), to achieve a more robust and applicable material. Here we developed a low-range (25–37˚C) temperature sensitive formulation that can be moulded with micron-resolution features or cast during 3D printing to produce complex flexible filament networks forming sacrificial vessels. Using the temperature-sensitivity, we could control filament degeneration meaning GSM can be used with a variety of matrices and crosslinking strategies. Furthermore by incorporation of biocompatible crosslinkers into GSM directly, we could create thin endothelialized vessel walls and generate patterned tissues containing multiple matrices and cell-types. We also demonstrated that perfused vascular channels sustain metabolic function of a variety of cell-types including primary human cells. Importantly, we were able to construct vascularized human noses which otherwise would have been necrotic. Our material can now be exploited to create human-scale tissues for regenerative medicine applications. Statement of Significance Authentic and engineered tissues have demands for mass transport, exchanging nutrients and oxygen, and therefore require vascularization to retain viability and inhibit necrosis. Basic vascular networks must be included within engineered tissues intrinsically. Yet, this has been unachievable in physiologically-sized constructs with tissue-like cell densities until recently. Sacrificial moulding is an alternative in which networks of rigid lattices of filaments are created to prevent subsequent matrix ingress. Our study describes a biocompatible sacrificial sugar-protein formulation; GSM, made from mixtures of inexpensive and readily available bio-grade materials. GSM can be cast/moulded or bioprinted as sacrificial filaments that can rapidly dissolve in an aqueous environment temperature-sensitively. GSM material can be used to engineer viable and vascularized human-scale tissues for regenerative medicine applications.