3D Printing of Microgel-Loaded Modular Microcages as Instructive Scaffolds for Tissue Engineering

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Biomaterial scaffolds have served as the foundation of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. However, scaffold systems are often difficult to scale in size or shape in order to fit defect-specific dimensions, and thus provide only limited spatiotemporal control of therapeutic delivery and host tissue responses. Here, a lithography-based 3D printing strategy is used to fabricate a novel miniaturized modular microcage scaffold system, which can be assembled and scaled manually with ease. Scalability is based on an intuitive concept of stacking modules, like conventional toy interlocking plastic blocks, allowing for literally thousands of potential geometric configurations, and without the need for specialized equipment. Moreover, the modular hollow-microcage design allows each unit to be loaded with biologic cargo of different compositions, thus enabling controllable and easy patterning of therapeutics within the material in 3D. In summary, the concept of miniaturized microcage designs with such straight-forward assembly and scalability, as well as controllable loading properties, is a flexible platform that can be extended to a wide range of materials for improved biological performance.




Subbiah, R., Hipfinger, C., Tahayeri, A., Athirasala, A., Horsophonphong, S., Thrivikraman, G., … Bertassoni, L. E. (2020). 3D Printing of Microgel-Loaded Modular Microcages as Instructive Scaffolds for Tissue Engineering. Advanced Materials, 32(36). https://doi.org/10.1002/adma.202001736

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