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Light-Based Tissue Bioprinting Method Cuts Reliance on Animals

Published in Bioprinting.

BARCELONA, Spain, Feb. 24, 2022 — A light-based 3D bioprinting technique could soon be used to produce tissue models for testing and basic research. The approach is poised to reduce reliance on animals in laboratory testing.

BRIGHTER, a European Union-funded project coordinated by the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC), is developing a 3D bioprinting technology that uses light-sheet lithography to accurately generate and mold complex tissues like the human skin with high spatial resolution and speed.

The new technology is based on a top-down lithography approach, in contrast to current bottom-up, layer-by-layer bioprinting methods.

To begin, researchers placed a hydrogel composed of living human cells and photosensitive molecules in a cuvette. All the necessary components to reproduce the tissue, including different types of cell populations, were combined in the mixture of hydrogel, cells, and light-sensitive molecules.

Using a light-sheet microscope, the researchers illuminated the hydrogel mixture with a thin laser light sheet that followed a programmed pattern. The cells in the hydrogel were patterned in a specific way, leading to the formation of 3D microstructures that reproduced the tissue architecture and function. The remaining hydrogel was washed out after the printing process.