Skin tissue generation by laser cell printing



For the aim of ex vivo engineering of functional tissue substitutes, Laser-assisted BioPrinting (LaBP) is under investigation for the arrangement of living cells in predefined patterns. So far three-dimensional (3D) arrangements of single or two-dimensional (2D) patterning of different cell types have been presented. It has been shown that cells are not harmed by the printing procedure. We now demonstrate for the first time the 3D arrangement of vital cells by LaBP as multicellular grafts analogous to native archetype and the formation of tissue by these cells. For this purpose, fibroblasts and keratinocytes embedded in collagen were printed in 3D as a simple example for skin tissue. To study cell functions and tissue formation process in 3D, different characteristics, such as cell localisation and proliferation were investigated. We further analysed the formation of adhering and gap junctions, which are fundamental for tissue morphogenesis and cohesion. In this study, it was demonstrated that LaBP is an outstanding tool for the generation of multicellular 3D constructs mimicking tissue functions. These findings are promising for the realisation of 3D in vitro models and tissue substitutes for many applications in tissue engineering. Biotechnol. Bioeng. 2012; 109:1855–1863. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.