The growing demand for improved tissue engineering strategies calls for reproducible high-throughput screening methods where both biological and biomaterial-related properties can be assessed simultaneously. ComplexiTE project ultimate aim is to define a multiparametric high-throughput microfluidics-based methodology for screening of biomaterials, cells and culture conditions to streamline the creation of bone tissue engineered constructs. Hence, a microfluidics platform was established to produce microparticles and fibers using Gellan Gum and alginate combined with marine-origin materials such as codfish collagen at different proportions. Cell-laden 3D structures were produced with cells relevant for bone tissue formation either individually or in different combinations, generating homotypic and heterotypic constructs. Stromal vascular fraction of Adipose Tissue was used to obtain adipose-derived stem cells and endothelial cells. Cell-biomaterial interactions were addressed in terms of cell viability as a first step. The induction of cell differentiation into the osteogenic lineage was performed, and assessed by analysis of osteogenic markers such as alkaline phosphatase (ALP, early marker) and osteocalcin (OCN, late marker), and ultimately matrix mineralization (vonKossa staining). Since ECs have a major role in bone tissue homeostasis maintenance of the endothelial phenotype (e.g., CD31, vWF) in the 3D setups was also addressed. So far, we have generated an array of particles of different material combinations and concentrations, and different cell types, that can be used to address the intricate mechanistic details of bone tissue formation to obtain improved bone tissue engineered constructs.
The authors would like to acknowledge the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) for personal grant SFRH/BPD/109595/2015 (AFC). This work was supported by the European Research Council Advanced Grant No. ERC-2012-AdG_20120216-321266 for project ComplexiTE.