Decellularized Extracellular Matrix as Bioink for 3D-Bioprinting
Decellularized extracellular matrix (dECM) encompasses a complex milieu of proteins, glycosaminoglycans and other essential growth factors providing the native microenvironment to the cells. Together with the superiority of dECM to comprehensively mimic the native tissue microenvironment, 3D bioprinting offers a promising and alternative platform to fabricate engineered constructs in recreating functional tissue models. Tissue specific 3D bioprinted constructs emerge as the most biomimetic module as they provide unique biochemical cues and biophysical signals to regulate cell–cell and cell–ECM interaction. In this chapter, we introduce the 3D bioprinting techniques and the necessary requirements for printing using an extrusion-based 3D bioprinter. In addition, we also discuss the advantage of using tissue specific bioink over homogenous polymer and briefly summarize the different decellularization methods involved in obtaining dECM bioink while preserving the ECM components. Finally, we highlight the studies based on 3D bioprinting of tissue-specific dECM bioink and its flexibility to fabricate cell-laden tissue constructs for wide range of applications, such as tissue regeneration and drug screening. The chapter ends with concluding remarks as well as the future directions of using dECM bioink with regard to animal choice, improvement in its mechanical properties and also the commercialization of the 3D printed tissue-engineered constructs.