Drug-induced hepatotoxicity is a leading cause of clinical trial withdrawal. Therefore, in vitro modeling the hepatic behavior and functionalities is not only crucial to better understand physiological and pathological processes but also to support drug development with reliable high-throughput platforms. Different physiological and pathological models are currently under development and are commonly implemented both within platforms for standard 2D cultures and within tailor-made chambers. This paper introduces Hep3Gel: a hybrid alginate-extracellular matrix (ECM) hydrogel to produce 3D in vitro models of the liver, aiming to reproduce the hepatic chemomechanical niche, with the possibility of adapting its shape to different manufacturing techniques. The ECM, extracted and powdered from porcine livers by a specifically set-up procedure, preserved its crucial biological macromolecules and was embedded within alginate hydrogels prior to crosslinking. The viscoelastic behavior of Hep3Gel was tuned, reproducing the properties of a physiological organ, according to the available knowledge about hepatic biomechanics. By finely tuning the crosslinking kinetics of Hep3Gel, its dualistic nature can be exploited either by self-spreading or adapting its shape to different culture supports or retaining the imposed fiber shape during an extrusion-based 3D-bioprinting process, thus being a shape-shifter hydrogel. The self-spreading ability of Hep3Gel was characterized by combining empirical and numerical procedures, while its use as a bioink was experimentally characterized through rheological a priori printability evaluations and 3D printing tests. The effect of the addition of the ECM was evident after 4 days, doubling the survival rate of cells embedded within control hydrogels. This study represents a proof of concept of the applicability of Hep3Gel as a tool to develop 3D in vitro models of the liver.

Hep3Gel: A Shape-Shifting Extracellular Matrix-Based, Three-Dimensional Liver Model Adaptable to Different Culture Systems

Guagliano, Giuseppe;Sardelli, Lorenzo;Briatico-Vangosa, Francesco;Petrini, Paola
2023-01-01

Abstract

Drug-induced hepatotoxicity is a leading cause of clinical trial withdrawal. Therefore, in vitro modeling the hepatic behavior and functionalities is not only crucial to better understand physiological and pathological processes but also to support drug development with reliable high-throughput platforms. Different physiological and pathological models are currently under development and are commonly implemented both within platforms for standard 2D cultures and within tailor-made chambers. This paper introduces Hep3Gel: a hybrid alginate-extracellular matrix (ECM) hydrogel to produce 3D in vitro models of the liver, aiming to reproduce the hepatic chemomechanical niche, with the possibility of adapting its shape to different manufacturing techniques. The ECM, extracted and powdered from porcine livers by a specifically set-up procedure, preserved its crucial biological macromolecules and was embedded within alginate hydrogels prior to crosslinking. The viscoelastic behavior of Hep3Gel was tuned, reproducing the properties of a physiological organ, according to the available knowledge about hepatic biomechanics. By finely tuning the crosslinking kinetics of Hep3Gel, its dualistic nature can be exploited either by self-spreading or adapting its shape to different culture supports or retaining the imposed fiber shape during an extrusion-based 3D-bioprinting process, thus being a shape-shifter hydrogel. The self-spreading ability of Hep3Gel was characterized by combining empirical and numerical procedures, while its use as a bioink was experimentally characterized through rheological a priori printability evaluations and 3D printing tests. The effect of the addition of the ECM was evident after 4 days, doubling the survival rate of cells embedded within control hydrogels. This study represents a proof of concept of the applicability of Hep3Gel as a tool to develop 3D in vitro models of the liver.
2023
3D bioprinting
3D cell cultures
alginate
bioink
decellularized hepatic tissue
internal crosslinking
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11311/1234496
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