The use of cell-rich hydrogels for three-dimensional (3D) cell culture has shown great potential for a variety of biomedical applications. However, the fabrication of appropriate constructs has been challenging. In this study, we describe a 3D printing process for the preparation of a multilayered 3D construct containing human mesenchymal stromal cells with a hydrogel comprised of atelocollagen and supramolecular hyaluronic acid (HA). This construct showed outstanding regenerative ability for the reconstruction of an osteochondral tissue in the knee joints of rabbits. We found that the use of a mechanically stable, host-guest chemistry-based hydrogel was essential and allowed two different types of extracellular matrix (ECM) hydrogels to be easily printed and stacked into one multilayered construct without requiring the use of potentially harmful chemical reagents or physical stimuli for post-crosslinking. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to validate the potential of a 3D printed multilayered construct consisting of two different ECM materials (atelocollagen and HA) for heterogeneous tissue regeneration using an in vivo animal model. We believe that this 3D printing-based platform technology can be effectively exploited for regeneration of various heterogeneous tissues as well as osteochondral tissue.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering