Three-dimensional (3D) printing, also known as additive manufacturing, was developed originally for engineering applications. Since its early advancements, there has been a relentless development in enthusiasm for this innovation in biomedical research. It allows for the fabrication of structures with both complex geometries and heterogeneous material properties. Tissue engineering using 3D bio-printers can overcome the limitations of traditional tissue engineering methods. It can match the complexity and cellular microenvironment of human organs and tissues, which drives much of the interest in this technique. However, most of the preliminary evaluations of 3D-printed tissues and organ engineering, including cardiac tissue, relies extensively on the lessons learned from traditional tissue engineering. In many early examples, the final printed structures were found to be no better than tissues developed using traditional tissue engineering methods. This highlights the fact that 3D bio-printing of human tissue is still very much in its infancy and more work needs to be done to realise its full potential. This can be achieved through interdisciplinary collaboration between engineers, biomaterial scientists and molecular cell biologists. This review highlights current advancements and future prospects for 3D bio-printing in engineering ex vivo cardiac tissue and associated vasculature, such as coronary arteries. In this context, the role of biomaterials for hydrogel matrices and choice of cells are discussed. 3D bio-printing has the potential to advance current research significantly and support the development of novel therapeutics which can improve the therapeutic outcomes of patients suffering fatal cardiovascular pathologies.
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- 3D bio-printing
- Cardiac tissue engineering
- cardiovascular diseases
- vasculature network.
- vasculature network