Platform Technologies for Directly Reconstructing 3D Living Biomaterials
Reported by: Irina Robu, PhD
The techniques of electrospraying and electrospinning have existed for at least a century. These techniques employs a high voltage applied to a needle accommodating the flow of media, placed above a counter electrode which could either be grounded or have an opposite charge to the needle—thus introducing the charged media to an electric field.
These endeavors have demonstrated the wider applicability of these technologies and hence in the last 20 years or so have been used for the direct handling of a wide range of materials, including bio-inspired materials. These investigations have generated interest in areas such as the development of fine monolayered surfaces, fabrication of scaffolds which could be used for many laboratory-based fundamental biological studies.
In 2005, Jayasinghe et al. began investigations into both electrospraying and electrospinning of immortalized cell lines. Even though the high voltages involved, these cells were found to be viable post-electrospraying/electrospinning. Additional work has extended these studies to different cell types, both murine and human, immortalized or primary, stem cells, and even whole fertilized embryos from model organisms. Established protocols (such as flow cytometry, genetic/genomic interrogation, and microarray analysis) proved that cells processed using either electrospraying or electrospinning were indistinguishable from controls. Hence bio-electrospraying (BES) and cell electrospinning (CE) have become platform technologies for the biological and life science and are the leading technologies for the direct handling of cells—both for distribution of cells with pinpoint precision as cell-bearing droplets, and for the formation of truly 3D living scaffolds.
Previous studies have been carried out with processed cells suspended in matrices generated from animal/tumor-derived materials which contain largely uncharacterized growth factors and bioactive signals. This makes them very undesirable for clinical assays. While not applicable to humans, they can be used with advanced biopolymers, which could be directly translated to humans, and have the potential for creating artificial constructs which could be used for a variety of applications in the regenerative medicine field. The present study describes the in vivo application of such biopolymers, using murine macrophages to interrogate biocompatibility and cellular behavior post-transfer.