Thermal inkjet printing technology has been applied successfully to cell printing. However, there are concerns that printing process may cause cell damages or death. We conducted a comprehensive study of thermal inkjet printed Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells by evaluating cell viability and apoptosis, and possible cell membrane damages. Additionally, we studied the cell concentration of bio-ink and found optimum printing of concentrations around 8 million cells per mL. Printed cell viability was 89% and only 3.5% apoptotic cells were observed after printing. Transient pores were developed in the cell membrane of printed cells. Cells were able to repair these pores within 2 h after printing. Green fluorescent protein (GFP) DNA plasmids were delivered to CHO-S cells by co-printing. The transfection efficiency is above 30%. We conclude that thermal inkjet printing technology can be used for precise cell seeding with minor effects and damages to the printed mammalian cells. The printing process causes transient pores in cell membranes, a process which has promising applications for gene and macroparticles delivery to induce the biocompatibility or growth of engineered tissues. Biotechnol. Bioeng. 2010;106: 963–969. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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