Magnetic resonance imaging as a tool for quality control in extrusion-based bioprinting
Schmieg, B. / Gretzinger, S. / Schuhmann, S. / Guthausen, G. / Hubbuch , J. (2022)
Biotechnology Journal, 2022, 17, 5, 2100336
- Date: März 2022
Bioprinting is gaining importance for the manufacturing of tailor-made hydrogel scaffolds in tissue engineering, pharmaceutical research and cell therapy. However, structure fidelity and geometric deviations of printed objects heavily influence mass transport and process reproducibility. Fast, three-dimensional and nondestructive quality control methods will be decisive for the approval in larger studies or industry. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) meets these requirements for characterizing heterogeneous soft materials with different properties. Complementary to the idea of decentralized 3D printing, magnetic resonance tomography is common in medicine, and image data processing tools can be transferred system-independently. In this study, a MRI measurement and image analysis protocol was evaluated to jointly assess the reproducibility of three different hydrogels and a reference material. Critical parameters for object quality, namely porosity, hole areas and deviations along the height of the scaffolds are discussed. Geometric deviations could be correlated to specific process parameters, anomalies of the ink or changes of ambient conditions. This strategy allows the systematic investigation of complex 3D objects as well as an implementation as a process control tool. Combined with the monitoring of metadata this approach might pave the way for future industrial applications of 3D printing in the field of biopharmaceutics.