Freeform Bioprinting of Liver Encapsulated in Alginate Hydrogels Tissue Constructs for Pharmacokinetic Study
An in vitro model that can be realistically and inexpensively used to predict human response to various drug administration and toxic chemical exposure is needed. By fabricating a microscale 3D physiological tissue construct consisting of an array of channels and tissue-embedded chambers, one can selectively develop various biomimicking mammalian tissues for a number of pharmaceutical applications, for example, experimental pharmaceutical screening for drug efficacy and toxicity along with apprehending the disposition and metabolic profile of a candidate drug. This paper addresses issues relating to the development and implementation of a bioprinting process for freeform fabrication of a 3D cell-encapsulated hydrogel-based tissue construct, the direct integration onto a microfluidic device for pharmacokinetic study, and the underlying engineering science for the fabrication of a 3D microscale tissue chamber as well as its application in pharmacokinetic study. To this end, a prototype 3D microfluidic tissue chamber embedded with liver cells encapsulated within a hydrogel matrix construct is bioprinted as a physiological in vitro model for pharmacokinetic study. The developed fabrication processes are further validated and parameters optimized by assessing cell viability and liver cell phenotype, in which metabolic and synthetic liver functions are quantitated.