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Biomed Mater. 2008 Sep;3(3):034101. doi: 10.1088/1748-6041/3/3/034101. Epub 2008 Aug 8.

Single-cell printing to form three-dimensional lines of olfactory ensheathing cells.

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  • 1Naval Research Laboratory/Code 6113, 4555 Overlook Ave. SW, Washington, DC 20375, USA.


Biological laser printing (BioLP) is a unique tool capable of printing high resolution two- and three-dimensional patterns of living mammalian cells, with greater than 95% viability. These results have been extended to primary cultured olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs), harvested from adult Sprague-Dawley rats. OECs have been found to provide stimulating environments for neurite outgrowth in spinal cord injury models. BioLP is unique in that small load volumes ( approximately microLs) are required to achieve printing, enabling low numbers of OECs to be harvested, concentrated and printed. BioLP was used to form several 8 mm lines of OECs throughout a multilayer hydrogel scaffold. The line width was as low as 20 microm, with most lines comprising aligned single cells. Fluorescent confocal microscopy was used to determine the functionality of the printed OECs, to monitor interactions between printed OECs, and to determine the extent of cell migration throughout the 3D scaffold. High-resolution printing of low cell count, harvested OECs is an important advancement for in vitro study of cell interactions and functionality. In addition, these cell-printed scaffolds may provide an alternative for spinal cord repair studies, as the single-cell patterns formed here are on relevant size scales for neurite outgrowth.

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