Large three-dimensional cell constructs for tissue engineering

Jun Ichi Sasaki, Gabriela L. Abe, Aonan Li, Takuya Matsumoto, Satoshi Imazato

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Much research has been conducted on fabricating biomimetic biomaterials in vitro. Tissue engineering approaches are often conducted by combining cells, scaffolds, and growth factors. However, the degradation rate of scaffolds is difficult to control and the degradation byproducts occasionally limit tissue regeneration. To overcome these issues, we have developed a novel system using a thermo-responsive hydrogel that forms scaffold-free, three-dimensional (3D) cell constructs with arbitrary size and morphology. 3D cell constructs prepared using bone marrow-derived stromal stem cells (BMSCs) exhibited self-organizing ability and formed bone-like tissue with endochondral ossification. Endothelial cells were then introduced into the BMSC construct and a vessel-like structure was formed within the constructs. Additionally, the bone formation ability was promoted by endothelial cells and cell constructs could be freeze-dried to improve their clinical application. A pre-treatment with specific protein protectant allowed for the fabrication of novel bone substitutes composed only of cells. This 3D cell construct technology using thermo-responsive hydrogels was then applied to other cell species. Cell constructs composed of dental pulp stem cells were fabricated, and the resulting construct regenerated pulp-like tissue within a human pulpless tooth. In this review, we demonstrate the approaches for the in vitro fabrication of bone and dental pulp-like tissue using thermo-responsive hydrogels and their potential applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)571-582
Number of pages12
JournalScience and Technology of Advanced Materials
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • 30 Bio-inspired and biomedical materials; 211 Scaffold / Tissue engineering/Drug delivery
  • Cell-based biomaterial
  • biomimetic material
  • bone regeneration
  • dental pulp regeneration
  • in vitro tissue engineering
  • organoid
  • thermo-responsive hydrogel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science


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