3D printing of bioreactors in tissue engineering: A generalised approach

Gensler M, Leikeim A, Möllmann M, Komma M, Heid S, Müller C, Boccaccini AR, Salehi S, Groeber-Becker F, Hansmann J (2020)

Publication Type: Journal article

Publication year: 2020


Book Volume: 15

Pages Range: e0242615-

Journal Issue: 11

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0242615


3D printing is a rapidly evolving field for biological (bioprinting) and non-biological applications. Due to a high degree of freedom for geometrical parameters in 3D printing, prototype printing of bioreactors is a promising approach in the field of Tissue Engineering. The variety of printers, materials, printing parameters and device settings is difficult to overview both for beginners as well as for most professionals. In order to address this problem, we designed a guidance including test bodies to elucidate the real printing performance for a given printer system. Therefore, performance parameters such as accuracy or mechanical stability of the test bodies are systematically analysed. Moreover, post processing steps such as sterilisation or cleaning are considered in the test procedure. The guidance presented here is also applicable to optimise the printer settings for a given printer device. As proof of concept, we compared fused filament fabrication, stereolithography and selective laser sintering as the three most used printing methods. We determined fused filament fabrication printing as the most economical solution, while stereolithography is most accurate and features the highest surface quality. Finally, we tested the applicability of our guidance by identifying a printer solution to manufacture a complex bioreactor for a perfused tissue construct. Due to its design, the manufacture via subtractive mechanical methods would be 21-fold more expensive than additive manufacturing and therefore, would result in three times the number of parts to be assembled subsequently. Using this bioreactor we showed a successful 14-day-culture of a biofabricated collagen-based tissue construct containing human dermal fibroblasts as the stromal part and a perfusable central channel with human microvascular endothelial cells. Our study indicates how the full potential of biofabrication can be exploited, as most printed tissues exhibit individual shapes and require storage under physiological conditions, after the bioprinting process.

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Gensler, M., Leikeim, A., Möllmann, M., Komma, M., Heid, S., Müller, C.,... Hansmann, J. (2020). 3D printing of bioreactors in tissue engineering: A generalised approach. PLoS ONE, 15(11), e0242615-. https://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0242615


Gensler, Marius, et al. "3D printing of bioreactors in tissue engineering: A generalised approach." PLoS ONE 15.11 (2020): e0242615-.

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