3D bioprinting – Flow cytometry as analytical strategy for 3D cell structures

  • Autor:

    Gretzinger, S. / Beckert, N. / Gleadall, A. / Lee-Thedieck, C. / Hubbuch, J. (2018)

  • Quelle:

    Bioprinting,11, 2018, doi.org/10.1016/j.BPRINT.2018.e00023

  • Datum: April 2018


The importance of 3D printing technologies increased significantly over the recent years. They are considered to have a huge impact in regenerative medicine and tissue engineering, since 3D bioprinting enables the production of cell-laden 3D scaffolds. Transition from academic research to pharmaceutical industry or clinical applications, however, is highly dependent on developing a robust and well-known process, while maintaining critical cell characteristics. Hence, a directed and systematic approach to 3D bioprinting process development is required, which also allows for the monitoring of these cell characteristics. This work presents the development of a flow cytometry-based analytical strategy as a tool for 3D bioprinting research.

The development was based on a model process using a commercially available alginate-based bioink, the β-cell line INS-1E, and direct dispensing as 3D bioprinting method. We demonstrated that this set-up enabled viability and proliferation analysis. Additionally, use of an automated sampler facilitated high-throughput screenings. Finally, we showed that each process step, e.g. suspension of cells in bioink or 3D printing, cross-linking of the alginate scaffold after printing, has a crucial impact on INS-1E viability. This reflects the importance of process optimization in 3D bioprinting and the usefulness of the flow cytometry-based analytical strategy described here. The presented strategy has a great potential as a cell characterisation tool for 3D bioprinting and may contribute to a more directed process development.