3D-Printed disposable nozzles for cost-efficient extrusion-based 3D bioprinting

3D bioprinting has significantly impacted tissue engineering with its capability to create intricate structures with complex geometries that were difficult to replicate through traditional manufacturing techniques. Extrusion-based 3D bioprinting methods tend to be limited when creating complex structures using bioinks of low viscosity. However, the capacity for creating multi-material structures that have distinct properties could be unlocked through the mixture of two solutions before extrusion. This could be used to generate architectures with varying levels of stiffness and hydrophobicity, which could be utilized for regenerative medicine applications. Moreover, it allows for combining proteins and other biological materials in a single 3D-bioprinted structure. This paper presents a standardized fabrication method of disposable nozzle connectors (DNC) for 3D bioprinting with hydrogel-based materials. This method entails 3D printing connectors with dual inlets and a single outlet to mix the material internally. The connectors are compatible with conventional Luer lock needles, offering an efficient solution for nozzle replacement. IVZK (Ac-Ile-Val-Cha-Lys-NH2) peptide-based hydrogel materials were used as a bioink with the 3D-printed DNCs. Extrusion-based 3D bioprinting was employed to print shapes of varying complexities, demonstrating potential in achieving high print resolution, shape fidelity, and biocompatibility. Post-printing of human neonatal dermal fibroblasts, cell viability, proliferation, and metabolic activity were observed, which demonstrated the effectiveness of the proposed design and process for 3D bioprinting using low-viscosity bioinks.

I. Albalawi, H., N. Khan, Z., H. Rawas, R., U. Valle-Pérez, A., Abdelrahman, S., & A. E. Hauser, C. (2023). 3D-Printed disposable nozzles for cost-efficient extrusion-based 3D bioprinting. Materials Science in Additive Manufacturing, 2(1), 52. https://doi.org/10.36922/msam.52

This work was financially supported by King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). The authors would like to acknowledge Kowther Kahin for her dedicated work in nozzle design, which inspired this work, Noofa Hammad for her technical support on the robotic 3D bioprinter, and Aris Konstantinidis for his support in conducting the experiments.

AccScience Publishing

Materials Science in Additive Manufacturing


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