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Bio-Design and Manufacturing  2023 Vol.6 No.1 P.1-11


Microcapillary cell extrusion deposition with picolitre dispensing resolution

Author(s):  Saeed Fathi, Iek Man Lei, Yang Cao & Yan Yan Shery Huang

Affiliation(s):  Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK; more

Corresponding email(s):   sf629@cam.ac.uk, saeed.fathi@gmail.com

Key Words:  Microcapillary cell printing, Resolution dispensing, Cell sedimentation, Single cell

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Saeed Fathi, Iek Man Lei, Yang Cao & Yan Yan Shery Huang. Microcapillary cell extrusion deposition with picolitre dispensing resolution[J]. Journal of Zhejiang University Science D, 2023, 6(1): 1-11.

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Extrusion-based cell deposition has become a prominent technique for expanding bioprinting applications. However, the associated print resolution in the order of nanolitre or above has been a limiting factor. The demand for improving print resolution towards the scale of a single cell has driven the development of precision nozzle extrusion, although the benefits gained remain ambiguous. Here, aided by in situ imaging, we investigated the dynamics of cell organisation through an extrusion-based microcapillary tip with picolitre precision through in-air or immersion deposition. The microcapillary extrusion setup, termed ‘Picodis’, was demonstrated by generating droplets of colouring inks immersed in an immiscible medium. Next, using 3T3 fibroblast cells as an experimental model, we demonstrated the deposition of cell suspension, and pre-aggregated cell pellets. Then, the dynamic organisation of cells within the microcapillary tip was described, along with cell ejection and deposition upon exiting the tip opening. The vision-assisted approach revealed that when dispersed in a culture medium, the movements of cells were distinctive based on the flow profiles and were purely driven by laminar fluid flow within a narrow tip. The primary process limitations were cell sedimentation, aggregation and compaction, along with trapped air bubbles. The use of picolitre-level resolution microcapillary extrusion, although it provides some level of control for a small number of cells, does not necessarily offer a reliable method when a specified number of cells are required. Our study provides insights into the process limitations of high-resolution cell ink extrusion, which may be useful for optimising biofabrication processes of cell-laden constructs for biomedical research.

剑桥大学Saeed Fathi等 | 具有皮升级别精度的微毛细管细胞挤出打印


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