UV-Photolithography Fabrication of Poly-Ethylene Glycol Hydrogels Encapsulated with Hepatocytes

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Starly, B.
Chang, R.
Sun, W.

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The development of biomanufacturing technologies particularly, layered manufacturing has advanced cell encapsulation processes in an effort to mimic the cellular microenvironment for invitro studies. This paper illustrates an inexpensive UV-photolithographic method for encapsulation of human hepatocytes in three dimensional structures using poly-ethylene diacrylate (PEGDA) hydrogels as candidate substrates. In order to further develop this technology for layered fabrication, we have quantified the long-term effects of the photo-initiator concentration and UV light exposure on the metabolic rates of encapsulated human hepatocytes under a 21 day study. The photoinitator toxicity was observed immediately after polymerization with no significant cytotoxicity on a long term basis. A cellular viability is examined and reported for the UV photopolymerization process. Cell phenotype maintenance was observed by measuring the amount of urea produced over a 1 week time period. This photo encapsulation process may find use in the fabrication of spatially complex 3D scaffolds for tissue engineering applications, elucidation of the 3D structure-pharmacokinetic response relationship and the fabrication of complex multi-compartment liver tissue analog devices for drug screening applications.


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