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Adv Healthc Mater. 2017 Nov;6(22). doi: 10.1002/adhm.201700369. Epub 2017 Sep 11.

Fabrication of Trabecular Bone-Templated Tissue-Engineered Constructs by 3D Inkjet Printing.

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Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, 37235, USA.
Vanderbilt Center for Bone Biology, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN, 37235, USA.
Division of Clinical Pharmacology, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN, 37235, USA.
Department of Cancer Biology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, 37235, USA.
Department of Veterans Affairs, Tennessee Valley Healthcare System (VISN 9), Nashville, TN, 37212, USA.
Department of Biomedical Engineering, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, 37235, USA.


3D printing enables the creation of scaffolds with precisely controlled morphometric properties for multiple tissue types, including musculoskeletal tissues such as cartilage and bone. Computed tomography (CT) imaging has been combined with 3D printing to fabricate anatomically scaled patient-specific scaffolds for bone regeneration. However, anatomically scaled scaffolds typically lack sufficient resolution to recapitulate the <100 micrometer-scale trabecular architecture essential for investigating the cellular response to the morphometric properties of bone. In this study, it is hypothesized that the architecture of trabecular bone regulates osteoblast differentiation and mineralization. To test this hypothesis, human bone-templated 3D constructs are fabricated via a new micro-CT/3D inkjet printing process. It is shown that this process reproducibly fabricates bone-templated constructs that recapitulate the anatomic site-specific morphometric properties of trabecular bone. A significant correlation is observed between the structure model index (a morphometric parameter related to surface curvature) and the degree of mineralization of human mesenchymal stem cells, with more concave surfaces promoting more extensive osteoblast differentiation and mineralization compared to predominately convex surfaces. These findings highlight the significant effects of trabecular architecture on osteoblast function.


additive manufacturing; bone tissue engineering; in vitro models

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