3D bioprinting of dense cellular structures within hydrogels with spatially controlled heterogeneity

Alperen Abaci, Murat Guvendiren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Embedded bioprinting is an emerging technology for precise deposition of cell-laden or cell-only bioinks to construct tissue like structures. Bioink is extruded or transferred into a yield stress hydrogel or a microgel support bath allowing print needle motion during printing and providing temporal support for the printed construct. Although this technology has enabled creation of complex tissue structures, it remains a challenge to develop a support bath with user-defined extracellular mimetic cues and their spatial and temporal control. This is crucial to mimic the dynamic nature of the native tissue to better regenerate tissues and organs. To address this, we present a bioprinting approach involving printing of a photocurable viscous support layer and bioprinting of a cell-only or cell-laden bioink within this viscous layer followed by brief exposure to light to partially crosslink the support layer. This approach does not require shear thinning behavior and is suitable for a wide range of photocurable hydrogels to be used as a support. It enables multi-material printing to spatially control support hydrogel heterogeneity including temporal delivery of bioactive cues (e.g. growth factors), and precise patterning of dense multi-cellular structures within these hydrogel supports. Here, dense stem cell aggregates are printed within methacrylated hyaluronic acid-based hydrogels with patterned heterogeneity to spatially modulate human mesenchymal stem cell osteogenesis. This study has significant impactions on creating tissue interfaces (e.g. osteochondral tissue) in which spatial control of extracellular matrix properties for patterned stem cell differentiation is crucial.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number035027
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


  • bioinks
  • bone regeneration
  • embedded printing
  • human adult mesenchymal stem cells
  • stem cell differentiation
  • tissue engineering


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