Bioprinting is an emerging technique used to fabricate viable, 3D tissue constructs through the precise deposition of cells and hydrogels in a layer-by-layer fashion.
Electrospinning of polycaprolactone fibers was alternated with inkjet printing of rabbit elastic chondrocytes suspended in a fibrin–collagen hydrogel in order to fabricate a five-layer tissue construct of 1 mm thickness. The chondrocytes survived within the printed hybrid construct with more than 80% viability one week after printing. In addition, the cells proliferated and maintained their basic biological properties within the printed layered constructs. Furthermore, the fabricated constructs formed cartilage-like tissues both in vitro and in vivo as evidenced by the deposition of type II collagen and glycosaminoglycans. Moreover, the printed hybrid scaffolds demonstrated enhanced mechanical properties compared to printed alginate or fibrin–collagen gels alone
This study demonstrates the feasibility of constructing a hybrid inkjet printing system using off-the-shelf components to produce cartilage constructs with improved biological and mechanical properties