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Skin Grafting on 3D Bioprinted Cartilage Constructs In Vivo

Journal article
Authors Peter Apelgren
Matteo Amoroso
Karin Säljö
Anders Lindahl
Camilla Brantsing
L. Stridh Orrhult
P. Gatenholm
Lars Kölby
Published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery-Global Open
Volume 6
Issue 9
ISSN 2169-7574
Publication year 2018
Published at Institute of Biomedicine, Department of Clinical Chemistry and Transfusion Medicine
Institute of Clinical Sciences, Department of Plastic Surgery
Language en
Keywords porous polyethylene frameworks, temporoparietal fascia flap, autologous, rib cartilage, auricular reconstruction, microtia reconstruction, ear, reconstruction, tissue, nasal, model, Surgery
Subject categories Plastic surgery


Background: Three-dimensional (3D) bioprinting of cartilage is a promising new technique. To produce, for example, an auricle with good shape, the printed cartilage needs to be covered with skin that can grow on the surface of the construct. Our primary question was to analyze if an integrated 3D bioprinted cartilage structure is a tissue that can serve as a bed for a full-thickness skin graft. Methods: 3D bioprinted constructs (10x10x1.2mm) were printed using nanofibrillated cellulose/alginate bioink mixed with mesenchymal stem cells and adult chondrocytes and implanted subcutaneously in 21 nude mice. Results: After 45 days, a full-thickness skin allograft was transplanted onto the constructs and the grafted construct again enclosed subcutaneously. Group 1 was sacrificed on day 60, whereas group 2, instead, had their skin-bearing construct uncovered on day 60 and were sacrificed on day 75 and the explants were analyzed morphologically. The skin transplants integrated well with the 3D bioprinted constructs. A tight connection between the fibrous, vascularized capsule surrounding the 3D bioprinted constructs and the skin graft were observed. The skin grafts survived the uncovering and exposure to the environment. Conclusions: A 3D bioprinted cartilage that has been allowed to integrate in vivo is a sufficient base for a full-thickness skin graft. This finding accentuates the clinical potential of 3D bioprinting for reconstructive purposes.

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