Bioprinting of artificial blood vessels

VIEWS - 610 (Abstract) 140 (PDF)
Hooi Yee Ng, Kai-Xing Alvin Lee, Che-Nan Kuo, Yu-Fang Shen


Vascular networks have an important role to play in transporting nutrients, oxygen, metabolic wastes and maintenance of homeostasis. Bioprinting is a promising technology as it is able to fabricate complex, specific multi-cellular constructs with precision. In addition, current technology allows precise depositions of individual cells, growth factors and biochemical signals to enhance vascular growth. Fabrication of vascularized constructs has remained as a main challenge till date but it is deemed as an important stepping stone to bring organ engineering to a higher level. However, with the ever advancing bioprinting technology and knowledge of biomaterials, it is expected that bioprinting can be a viable solution for this problem. This article presents an overview of the biofabrication of vascular and vascularized constructs, the different techniques used in vascular engineering such as extrusion-based, droplet-based and laser-based bioprinting techniques, and the future prospects of bioprinting of artificial blood vessels.


3D bioprinting; vascularized constructs; vascular tissue engineering; extrusion-based bioprinting; droplet-based bioprinting; laser-based bioprinting

Full Text:



Marro A, Bandukwala T, Mak W, 2016, Three-dimensional printing and medical imaging: A review of the methods and applications. Curr Probl Diagn Radiol, 45(1): 2–9.

Kolesky D B, Truby R L, Gladman A S, et al., 2014, 3D bioprinting of vascularized, heterogeneous cell-laden tissue constructs. Adv Mater, 26(19): 3124–3130.

Miller J S, Stevens K R, Yang T, et al., 2012, Rapid casting of patterned vascular networks for perfusable engineered three-dimensional tissues. Nat Mater, 11(9): 768–774.

Pashneh-Tala S, MacNeil S, Claeyssens F, 2015, The tissue-engineered vascular graft—past, present, and future. Tissue Eng Part B Rev, 22(1): 68–100.

Dall’Olmo L, Zanusso I, DiLiddo R, et al., 2014, Blood vessel-derived acellular matrix for vascular graft application. Biomed Res Int, 2014: 685426.

Liu L, Wang X, 2015, Creation of a vascular system for organ manufacturing. Int J Bioprinting, 1(1):77–86.

Zhao X, Liu L, Wang J, et al., 2016, In vitro vascularization of a combined system based on a 3D printing technique. J Tissue Eng Regen Med, 10(10): 833–842.

Criswell T L, Corona B T, Wang Z, et al., 2013, The role of endothelial cells in myofiber differentiation and the vascularization and innervation of bioengineered muscle tissue in vivo. Biomaterials, 34(1): 140–149.

Zhang W J, Liu W, Cui L, et al., 2007, Tissue engineering of blood vessel. J Cell Mol Med, 11(5): 945–957.

Berillis P, 2013, The role of collagen in the aorta’s structure. Open Circ Vasc J, 6: 1–8.

Hoch E, Tovar G E M, Borchers K, 2014, Bioprinting of artificial blood vessels: Current approaches towards a demanding goal. Eur J Cardio-thoracic Surg, 46(5): 767–778.

Stegemann J P, Kaszuba S N, Rowe S L, 2007, Review: Advances in vascular tissue engineering using protein-based biomaterials. Tissue Eng, 13(11): 2601–2613.

Ozbolat I T, Moncal K K, Gudapati H, 2017, Evaluation of bioprinter technologies. Addit Manuf, 13: 179–200.

Jungst T, Smolan W, Schacht K, et al., 2016, Strategies and molecular design criteria for 3D printable hydrogels. Chem Rev, 116(3): 1496–1539.

Kalil S, Sun W, 2009, Bioprinting endothelial cells with alginate for 3D tissue constructs. J Biomech Eng,131(11): 111002.

Levato R, Visser J, Planell J A, et al., 2014, Biofabrication of tissue constructs by 3D bioprinting of cell-laden microcarriers. Biofabrication, 6(3): 035020.

Owens C M, Marga F, Forgacs G, et al., 2013, Biofabrication and testing of a fully cellular nerve graft. Biofabrication, 5(4): 045007.

Yu Y, Ozbolat I T, 2014, Tissue strands as “bioink” for scale-up organ printing. Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc, 2014: 1428–1431.

Ozbolat I T, Hospodiuk M, 2016, Current advances and future perspectives in extrusion-based bioprinting. Biomaterials, 76: 321–343.

Drury J L, Mooney D J, 2003, Hydrogels for tissue engineering: Scaffold design variables and applications. Biomaterials, 24(24): 4337–4351.

Ahmed E M, 2015, Hydrogel: Preparation, characterization, and applications: A review. J Adv Res, 6(2): 105–121.

Suntornnond R, An J, Chua C K, 2017, Roles of support materials in 3D bioprinting. Int J Bioprinting, 3(1): 83–86.

Hendriks J, Willem Visser C, Henke S, et al., 2015, Optimizing cell viability in droplet-based cell deposition. Sci Rep, 5: 1–10.

Gudapati H, Dey M, Ozbolat I, 2016, A comprehensive review on droplet-based bioprinting: Past, present and future. Biomaterials, 102: 20–42.

Lee V K, Lanzi A M, Ngo H, et al., 2014, Generation of multi-scale vascular network system within 3D hydrogel using 3D bio-printing technology. Cell Mol Bioeng, 7(3): 460–472.

Cui X, Boland T, D’Lima D D, et al., 2012, Thermal inkjet printing in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Recent Pat Drug Deliv Formul, 6(2): 149–155.

Ng W L, Lee J M, Yeong W Y, et al., 2017, Microvalve-based bioprinting – process, bio-inks and applications. Biomater Sci, 5(4): 632–647.

deJong J, deBruin G, Reinten H, et al., 2006, Air entrapment in piezo-driven inkjet printheads. J Acoust Soc Am, 120(3): 1257–1265.

Keriquel V, Oliveira H, Rémy M, et al., 2017, In situ printing of mesenchymal stromal cells, by laser-assisted bioprinting, for in vivo bone regeneration applications. Sci Rep, 7(1): 1778.

Selimis A, Mironov V, Farsari M, 2014, Direct laser writing: Principles and materials for scaffold 3D printing. Microelectron Eng, 132: 83–89.

Wang Z, Abdulla R, Parker B, et al., 2015, A simple and high-resolution stereolithography-based 3D bioprinting system using visible light crosslinkable bioinks. Biofabrication, 7(4): 045009.

Koch L, Brandt O, Deiwick A, et al., 2017, Laser-assisted bioprinting at different wavelengths and pulse durations with a metal dynamic release layer: A parametric study. Int J Bioprinting, 3(1): 42–53.

Zhang Y, 2014, 3D bioprinting of vasculature network for tissue engineering. thesis, Iowa Research Online, University of Iowa, 1–135.

Wu W, Deconinck A, Lewis J A, 2011, Omnidirectional printing of 3D microvascular networks. Adv Mater, 23(24): H178–183.

Cui X, Boland T, 2009, Human microvasculature fabrication using thermal inkjet printing technology. Biomaterials, 30(31): 6221–6227.

Blaeser A, Duarte Campos D F, Weber M, et al., 2013, Biofabrication under fluorocarbon: A novel freeform fabrication technique to generate high aspect ratio tissue-engineered constructs. Biores Open Access, 2(5): 374–384.

Jang J, Yi H-G, Cho D-W, 2016, 3D printed tissue models: Present and future. ACS Biomater Sci Eng, 2(10): 1722–1731.

Tasoglu S, Demirci U, 2013, Bioprinting for stem cell research. Trends Biotechnol, 31(1): 10–19.

Guillemot F, Souquet A, Catros S, et al., 2010, Laser-assisted cell printing: Principle, physical parameters versus cell fate and perspectives in tissue engineering. Nanomedicine, 5(3): 507–515.

Williams C G, Malik A N, Kim T K, et al., 2005, Variable cytocompatibility of six cell lines with photoinitiators used for polymerizing hydrogels and cell encapsulation. Nanomedicine (Lond), 26(11): 1211–1218.

Mandrycky C, Wang Z, Kim K, et al., 2016, 3D bioprinting for engineering complex tissues. Biotechnol Adv, 34(4): 422–434.

Bovard D, Iskandar A, Luettich K, et al., 2017, Organs-on-a-chip. Toxicol Res Appl, 1: 1–16.

Pampaloni F, Reynaud E G, Stelzer E H K, 2007, The third dimension bridges the gap between cell culture and live tissue. Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol, 8(10): 839–845.

Torii T, Miyazawa M, Koyama I, 2005, Effect of continuous application of shear stress on liver tissue: Continuous application of appropriate shear stress has advantage in protection of liver tissue. Transplant Proc, 37(10): 4575–4578.

Smith C M, Stone A L, Parkhill R L, et al., 2004, Three-dimensional bioassembly tool for generating viable tissue-engineered constructs. Tissue Eng, 10(9–10): 1566–1576.

Koike N, Fukumura D, Gralla O, et al., 2004, Creation of long-lasting blood vessels. Nature, 428(6979): 138–139.

Li S, Xiong Z, Wang X, et al., 2009, Direct fabrication of a hybrid cell/hydrogel construct by a double-nozzle assembling technology. J Bioact Compat Polym, 24(3): 249–265.

Gao Q, He Y, Fu J zhong, et al., 2015, Coaxial nozzle-assisted 3D bioprinting with built-in microchannels for nutrients delivery. Biomaterials, 61: 203–215.

Khattak S F, Bhatia S R, Roberts S C, 2005, Pluronic F127 as a cell encapsulation material: Utilization of membrane-stabilizing agents. Tissue Eng, 11(5–6): 974–983.

Smith C M, Christian J J, Warren W L, et al., 2007, Characterizing environmental factors that impact the viability of tissue-engineered constructs fabricated by a direct-write bioassembly tool. Tissue Eng, 13(2): 373–383.

Zhang Y S, Davoudi F, Walch P, et al., 2016, Bioprinted thrombosis-on-a-chip. Lab Chip, 16(21): 4097–4105.

Suntornnond R, Tan E Y S, An J, et al., 2017, A highly printable and biocompatible hydrogel composite for direct printing of soft and perfusable vasculature-like structures. Sci Rep, 7(1): 16902.

Bertassoni L E, Cecconi M, Manoharan V, et al., 2014, Hydrogel bioprinted microchannel networks for vascularization of tissue engineering constructs. Lab Chip, 14(13): 2202–2211.

Skaat H, Ziv-Polat O, Shahar A, et al., 2012, Magnetic scaffolds enriched with bioactive nanoparticles for tissue engineering. Adv Healthc Mater, 1(2): 168–171.

Lee V K, Kim D Y, Ngo H, et al., 2014, Creating perfused functional vascular channels using 3D bio-printing technology. Biomaterials, 35(28): 8092–8102.

Covello K L, Simon M C, 2004, HIFs, hypoxia, and vascular development. Curr Top Dev Biol, 62: 37–54.

Park K M, Gerecht S, 2014, Hypoxia-inducible hydrogels. Nat Commun, 5: 4075.

Gauvin R, Ahsan T, Larouche D, et al., 2010, A novel single-step self-assembly approach for the fabrication of tissue-engineered vascular constructs. Tissue Eng Part A, 16(5): 1737–1747.

Sales V L, Engelmayr G C, Mettler B A, et al., 2006, Transforming growth factor-β1 modulates extracellular matrix production, proliferation, and apoptosis of endothelial progenitor cells in tissue-engineering scaffolds. Circulation, 114(1): I193–I199.

Guillotin B, Souquet A, Catros S, et al., 2010, Laser assisted bioprinting of engineered tissue with high cell density and microscale organization. Biomaterials, 31(28): 7250–7256.

Wu P K, Ringeisen B R, 2010, Development of human umbilical vein endothelial cell (HUVEC) and human umbilical vein smooth muscle cell (HUVSMC) branch/stem structures on hydrogel layers via biological laser printing (BioLP). Biofabrication, 2(1): 014111.

Gaebel R, Ma N, Liu J, et al., 2011, Patterning human stem cells and endothelial cells with laser printing for cardiac regeneration. Biomaterials, 32(35): 9218–9230.

Kim B S, Kwon Y W, Kong J-S, et al., 2018, 3D cell printing of in vitro stabilized skin model and in vivo pre-vascularized skin patch using tissue-specific extracellular matrix bioink: A step towards advanced skin tissue engineering. Biomaterials, 168: 38–53.

Shojaie S, Ermini L, Ackerley C, et al., 2015, Acellular lung scaffolds direct differentiation of endoderm to functional airway epithelial cells: Requirement of matrix-bound HS proteoglycans. Stem Cell Reports, 4(3): 419–430.

Ozbolat I T, 2015, Scaffold-based or scaffold-free bioprinting: Competing or complementing approaches? J Nanotechnol Eng Med, 6(2): 24701.

Tan E Y S, Yeong W Y, 2015, Concentric bioprinting of alginate-based tubular constructs using multi-nozzle extrusion-based technique. Int J Bioprinting, 1(1): 49–56.

Priya Kesari, Tao Xu T B, 2005, Layer-by-layer printing of cells and its application to tissue engineering. Mater Res, 845:111–117.

Tchan J, 2008, Forensic examination of laser printers and photocopiers using digital image analysis to assess print characteristics. J Imaging Sci Technol, 52(1): 1–15.

Hasan A, Paul A, Memic A, et al., 2015, A multilayered microfluidic blood vessel-like structure. Biomed Microdevices, 17(5): 88.

Gao B, Yang Q, Zhao X, et al., 2016, 4D bioprinting for biomedical applications. Trends Biotechnol, 34(9): 746–756.

An J, Chua C K, Mironov V, 2016, A perspective on 4D bioprinting. Int J Bioprinting, 2(1): 3–5.

Yu Y, Moncal K K, Li J, et al., 2016, Three-dimensional bioprinting using self-Assembling scalable scaffold-free “tissue strands” as a new bioink. Sci Rep, 6: 28714.

Sooppan R, Paulsen S J, Han J, et al., 2016, In vivo anastomosis and perfusion of a three-dimensionally-printed construct containing microchannel networks. Tissue Eng Part C Methods, 22(1): 1–7.

Zhang B, Montgomery M, Chamberlain M D, et al., 2016, Biodegradable scaffold with built-in vasculature for organ-on-a-chip engineering and direct surgical anastomosis. Nat Mater, 15(6): 669–678.

Greco Song H-H, Rumma R T, Ozaki C K, et al., 2018, Vascular Tissue Engineering: Progress, Challenges, and Clinical Promise. Cell Stem Cell, 22(4): 608.

Chang W G, Niklason L E, 2017, A short discourse on vascular tissue engineering. NPJ Regen Med, 2(1): 7.

Sekine H, Shimizu T, Sakaguchi K, et al., 2013, In vitro fabrication of functional three-dimensional tissues with perfusable blood vessels. Nat Commun, 4:1399.

Dimitrievska S, Niklason L E, 2018, Historical perspective and future direction of blood vessel developments. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med, 8(2): a025742.

Hölzl K, Lin S, Tytgat L, et al., 2016, Bioink properties before, during and after 3D bioprinting. Biofabrication, 8(3):032002.

Han X, Bibb R, Harris R, 2016, Engineering design of artificial vascular junctions for 3D printing. Biofabrication, 8(2):025018.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2018 Yu Fang Shen

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Recent Articles | About Journal | For Author | Fees | About Whioce

Copyright © Whioce Publishing Pte Ltd. All Rights Reserved.