Triggered micropore-forming bioprinting of porous viscoelastic hydrogels†
Cell-laden scaffolds of architecture and mechanics that mimic those of the host tissues are important for a wide range of biomedical applications but remain challenging to bioprint. To address these challenges, we report a new method called triggered micropore-forming bioprinting. The approach can yield cell-laden scaffolds of defined architecture and interconnected pores over a range of sizes, encompassing that of many cell types. The viscoelasticity of the bioprinted scaffold can match that of biological tissues and be tuned independently of porosity and stiffness. The bioprinted scaffold also exhibits superior mechanical robustness despite high porosity. The bioprinting method and the resulting scaffolds support cell spreading, migration, and proliferation. The potential of the 3D bioprinting system is demonstrated for vocal fold tissue engineering and as an in vitro cancer model. Other possible applications are foreseen for tissue repair, regenerative medicine, organ-on-chip, drug screening, organ transplantation, and disease modeling.