Rapid prototyping of tissue-engineering constructs, using photopolymerizable hydrogels and stereolithography.

Research paper by Busaina B Dhariwala, Elaine E Hunt, Thomas T Boland

Indexed on: 14 Dec '04Published on: 14 Dec '04Published in: Tissue engineering


One of the most important aspects of tissue engineering is the design of the scaffold providing the mechanical strength and access to nutrients for the new tissue. For customized tissue engineering, it is essential to be able to fabricate three-dimensional scaffolds of various geometric shapes, in order to repair defects caused by accidents, surgery, or birth. Rapid prototyping or solid free-form fabrication (SFF) techniques hold great promise for designing three-dimensional customized scaffolds, yet traditional cell-seeding techniques may not provide enough cell mass for larger constructs. This article presents a novel attempt to fabricate three-dimensional scaffolds, using hydrogels combined with cell encapsulation to fabricate high-density tissue constructs. A commercially available stereolithography technique was applied to fabricate scaffolds using poly(ethylene oxide) and poly(ethylene glycol)dimethacrylate photopolymerizable hydrogels. Mechanical characterization shows the constructs to be comparable with soft tissues in terms of elasticity. High cell viability was achieved and high-density constructs fabricated.