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Mater Today Chem. 2019 Jun;12:61-70. doi: 10.1016/j.mtchem.2018.11.009. Epub 2019 Jan 14.

Cryopreserved cell-laden alginate microgel bioink for 3D bioprinting of living tissues.

Author information

Department of Biomedical Engineering, Case Western Reserve University.
Materials Science & Engineering and Biomedical Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University.
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Case Western Reserve University.


Cell-laden microgels have been used as tissue building blocks to create three-dimensional (3D) tissues and organs. However, traditional assembly methods can not be used to fabricate functional tissue constructs with biomechanical and structural complexity. In this study, we present directed assembly of cell-laden dual-crosslinkable alginate microgels comprised of oxidized and methacrylated alginate (OMA). Cell-laden OMA microgels can be directly assembled into well-defined 3D shapes and structures under low-level ultraviolet light. Stem cell-laden OMA microgels can be successfully cryopreserved for long-term storage and on-demand applications, and the recovered encapsulated cells maintained equivalent viability and functionality to the freshly processed stem cells. Finally, we have successfully demonstrated that cell-laden microgels can be assembled into complicated 3D tissue structures via freeform reversible embedding of suspended hydrogels (FRESH) 3D bioprinting. This highly innovative bottom-up strategy using FRESH 3D bioprinting of cell-laden OMA microgels, which are cryopreservable, provides a powerful and highly scalable tool for fabrication of customized and biomimetic 3D tissue constructs.


3D bioprinting; cryopreservation; microgel; stem cell

[Available on 2020-06-01]

Conflict of interest statement

Competing financial interests T.J.H. and A.W.F. have an equity stake in FluidForm, LLC, which is a startup company commercializing FRESH 3D printing. FRESH 3D printing is the subject of patent protection including US Patent number 10,150,258 and others.

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