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Microvalve Bioprinting of MSC-Chondrocyte Co-Cultures

Lookup NU author(s): Joseph Dudman, Dr Ana Ferreira-DuarteORCiD, Dr Piergiorgio GentileORCiD, Dr Xiao WangORCiD, Professor Kenneth Dalgarno



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Recent improvements within the fields of high-throughput screening and 3D tissue culture have provided the possibility of developing in vitro micro-tissue models that can be used to study diseases and screen potential new therapies. This paper reports a proof-of-concept study on the use of microvalve-based bioprinting to create laminar MSC-chondrocyte co-cultures to investigate whether the use of MSCs in ACI procedures would stimulate enhanced ECM production by chondrocytes. Microvalve-based bioprinting uses small-scale solenoid valves (microvalves) to deposit cells suspended in media in a consistent and repeatable manner. In this case, MSCs and chondrocytes have been sequentially printed into an insert-based transwell system in order to create a laminar co-culture, with variations in the ratios of the cell types used to investigate the potential for MSCs to stimulate ECM production. Histological and indirect immunofluorescence staining revealed the formation of dense tissue structures within the chondrocyte and MSC-chondrocyte cell co-cultures, alongside the establishment of a proliferative region at the base of the tissue. No stimulatory or inhibitory effect in terms of ECM production was observed through the introduction of MSCs, although the potential for an immunomodulatory benefit remains. This study, therefore, provides a novel method to enable the scalable production of therapeutically relevant micro-tissue models that can be used for in vitro research to optimise ACI procedures.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Dudman J, Ferreira AM, Gentile P, Wang X, Dalgarno K

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Cells

Year: 2021

Volume: 10

Issue: 12

Online publication date: 27/11/2021

Acceptance date: 23/11/2021

Date deposited: 12/01/2022

ISSN (electronic): 2073-4409

Publisher: MDPI AG


DOI: 10.3390/cells10123329


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Funder referenceFunder name
21156VERSUS Arthritis (formerly Arthritis Research UK)