Researchers from Nanyang Technological University and its Center for 3D printing (SC3DP) have developed a 3D printed a highly repeatable and scalable three-dimensional in-vitro alveolar lung model using our REGENHU bioprinter, that could be exploited for pathogen translocation studies and respiratory-related toxicological testing applications.
The triple-cell layered lung model was realized through high-precision patterning of multiple cell-laden biomaterials printed directly into culture dishes, enabled by the combination of multiple drop-on-demand 3D bioprinting printheads in the same process, alternating collagen layers with polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) bioink embedding human lung epithelial cells, human endothelial cells, and human lung fibroblasts.
The 3D bioprinted human alveolar lung models were able to maintain high cell viability and retain functionality over a period of 14 days, as demonstrated by their biomarkers expression patterns, which is a critical requirement for potential experimentation with respiratory viral infections.
The selected 3D bioprinting approach offers an attractive tool for fabrication of 3D in-vitro human alveolar lung models.
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The global prevalence of respiratory diseases caused by infectious pathogens has resulted in an increased demand for realistic in-vitro alveolar lung models to serve as suitable disease models. This demand has resulted in the fabrication of numerous two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) in-vitro alveolar lung models. The ability to fabricate these 3D in-vitro alveolar lung models in an automated manner with high repeatability and reliability is important for potential scalable production. In this study, we reported the fabrication of human triple-layered alveolar lung models comprising of human lung epithelial cells, human endothelial cells, and human lung fibroblasts using the drop-on-demand (DOD) 3D bioprinting technique. The polyvinylpyrrolidone-based bio-inks and the use of a 300 μm nozzle diameter improved the repeatability of the bioprinting process by achieving consistent cell output over time using different human alveolar lung cells. The 3D bioprinted human triple-layered alveolar lung models were able to maintain cell viability with relative similar proliferation profile over time as compared to non-printed cells. This DOD 3D bioprinting platform offers an attractive tool for highly repeatable and scalable fabrication of 3D in-vitro human alveolar lung models.