Formation of Cell Aggregates Using Microfabricated Hydrogel Chambers for Assembly into Larger Tissues
Masaki Iwase, Masumi Yamada, Emi Yamada,
and Minoru Seki
Department of Applied Chemistry and Biotechnology, Graduate School of Engineering, Chiba University, 1-33 Yayoi-cho, Inage-ku, Chiba 263-8522, Japan
This paper presents a fabrication process for cell aggregates with controlled shapes that can be used as building units for constructing relatively large tissue models. Microfabricated hydrogel-based chambers with non-adhesive surface characteristics were prepared via a micromolding process. Alginate was used as the hydrogel matrix, which facilitated the efficient formation of aggregates from cells retained inside the microchamber. We employed several types of toroidal and lattice-shaped hydrogel microchambers with different geometries. We examined the effect of cell type on the aggregate formation process using NIH-3T3, C2C12, and HepG2 cells and clearly observed that aggregation behavior is highly dependent on cell type. In addition, we tried to construct 2-layered capillarylike tissues by stacking heterotypic toroidal cell aggregates, which mimic blood vessels. The presented cell aggregate-based tissue fabrication process could become a versatile approach for preparing complex and scaffold-free 3D tissue models.
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