The ability to print and pattern all the components that make up a tissue (cells and matrix materials) in three dimensions to generate structures similar to tissues is an exciting prospect of bioprinting. However, the majority of the matrix materials used so far for bioprinting cannot represent the complexity of natural extracellular matrix (ECM) and thus are unable to reconstitute the intrinsic cellular morphologies and functions. Here, we develop a method for the bioprinting of cell-laden constructs with novel decellularized extracellular matrix (dECM) bioink capable of providing an optimized microenvironment conducive to the growth of three-dimensional structured tissue. We show the versatility and flexibility of the developed bioprinting process using tissue-specific dECM bioinks, including adipose, cartilage and heart tissues, capable of providing crucial cues for cells engraftment, survival and long-term function. We achieve high cell viability and functionality of the printed dECM structures using our bioprinting method.
The application of 3D printing to biomaterials presents interesting possibilities for tissue engineering. Here, the authors show that a printing medium derived from an extracellular matrix can be applied to printing tissue analogues with enhanced cell compatibility.