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4D Bioprinting Mimics the Dynamics of the Human Body

Researchers are moving to an entirely new dimension, the application of 4D bioprinting. 4D bioprinting is emerging as an innovative biomanufacturing technology aimed at producing three-dimensional scaffolds that can change shape depending on specific stimuli.

3D bioprinting has proven to be a great hope in organ regeneration. This technique is suitable for generating tissues into the human body for regenerative purposes.

3D printing is a technology that has been used to produce tissues and biochemicals for over 30 years. Consider that infinite regeneration can be done, surgeons strive to simply print and obtain tissue ready for implantation in the patient.

Now, the researchers aim to move to an entirely new dimension, the application of 4D bioprinting. 4D bioprinting is emerging as an innovative, bio-fabrication technology aimed at producing three-dimensional scaffolds that can change shape depending on specific stimuli. external factors; The printing technique is being advanced with materials that make it sensitive to temperature without swelling, from humidity to magnetic field, electrical impulses and even light. 4D bioprinting aims to mimic the unique, dynamic and structural changes of tissues by thinking of the human body. For example, heart contraction and gut dynamics can be mimicked by shape-shifting 3D structures.

For this purpose, a "bioink" that can be 3D printed is a gel-like material compatible with the human body. Recently, scientists have successfully produced biomaterials that respond to this stimulus by changing the shape of 3D-printed structures. There are numerous studies on the fact that the printed gels support cell growth and act as tissue scaffolds with academic studies. In addition, it has been observed that mathematical models change after printing, thanks to certain triggers.

As a result of a certain warning, biomaterials, due to their created structure; It can swell, fold, move, and achieve a final spatial conformation. The Lewis group used shape-shifting gels to suppress flower-mimicking structures that could fold or unfold when in contact with water (Figure 1). This orchid has been pressed by swelling the printed gel so that its petals create a swirling fold.





Figure 1. Flower opening model in Lewis lab for 4D Bioprinting


With its wide range of medical applications, researchers are now deeply investigating the properties of different biomaterials. Takeuchi et al., from a different perspective of 4D bioprinting, used the "cell origami" technique to produce the 3D structure of cells (Figure 2). By taking advantage of the capacity of cells with traction force, they were able to make three-dimensional structures, geometric shapes such as cubes and cylinders.



Figure 2. Cell origami method to create 3D structure made entirely of cells


New discoveries are still going on. However, 4D bioprinting is a great innovation for whole-organ printing, and it is making its mark in the literature as an emerging field. Currently, an organ can be printed in more than three days, but it is thought that the 4D bioprinting method will develop further in the next ten years. It is planned to be a major solution to organ failure and serve as a reliably simulated tissue regeneration tool.


Umut Doğu SEÇKİN

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