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Nat Mater. 2017 Mar;16(3):303-308. doi: 10.1038/nmat4782. Epub 2016 Oct 24.

Instrumented cardiac microphysiological devices via multimaterial three-dimensional printing.

Author information

1
Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, Harvard University, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.
2
John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA.

Abstract

Biomedical research has relied on animal studies and conventional cell cultures for decades. Recently, microphysiological systems (MPS), also known as organs-on-chips, that recapitulate the structure and function of native tissues in vitro, have emerged as a promising alternative. However, current MPS typically lack integrated sensors and their fabrication requires multi-step lithographic processes. Here, we introduce a facile route for fabricating a new class of instrumented cardiac microphysiological devices via multimaterial three-dimensional (3D) printing. Specifically, we designed six functional inks, based on piezo-resistive, high-conductance, and biocompatible soft materials that enable integration of soft strain gauge sensors within micro-architectures that guide the self-assembly of physio-mimetic laminar cardiac tissues. We validated that these embedded sensors provide non-invasive, electronic readouts of tissue contractile stresses inside cell incubator environments. We further applied these devices to study drug responses, as well as the contractile development of human stem cell-derived laminar cardiac tissues over four weeks.

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