Bio-printed brain cells made possible by 3D laser printing – 3DPrint.com
Scientists from the University of Montreal have published a study detailing the ability of adult brain cells to bioprint. The key to the research was new laser-assisted technology that ensured high levels of cell viability and functionality.
The team calls the process “Laser Induced Lateral Transfer (LIST)”, previously covered on 3DPrint.com here, and it has advantages over other bioprinting techniques through its ability to print with materials. of different viscosities. To demonstrate the technique’s potential in neurology, the researchers 3D printed sensory neurons, keys to the peripheral nervous system and the ability to process sensory stimuli.
The researchers suspended dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons, extracted from the peripheral nervous system of mice, in a bioink solution. This was loaded into a square capillary on top of a biocompatible substrate before low-energy nanosecond lasers were pulsed through the middle of the capillary. This resulted in the formation of microbubbles which, upon expansion, ejected cells onto the lower substrate. Then the samples were incubated, washed and then incubated again for 48 hours.
By performing a viability test, the team determined that 86 percent of the cells were still viable two days after printing. These results were further improved when lasers used lower amounts of energy, as higher power levels damaged cells. Other tests were also encouraging. These included calcium imaging, RNA sequencing, release of neuropeptides, and measuring the ability to form new projections in response to environmental signals (neurite outgrowth).
It should be noted that this is not the first bioprinting method involving the use of lasers, nor the first 3D printed adult brain cells. Poietis, for example, is known for its laser-assisted bioprinting technique, which relies on laser pulses to deposit cell-laden bioinks onto an ink film spread on a glass plate. Researchers in China were able to maintain the viability of bio-imprinted neurons for an impressive four weeks. Fluicell has bio-imprinted neural cells in the past. A team from the University of Minnesota was able to 3D print neurons to create a bioficial spinal cord.
The study suggests a number of possible applications, such as drug testing, disease modeling, and 3D printing of implants. In the immediate future, the team is considering using this technology to develop new drugs.