DOI

In vitro spermatogenesis (IVS) has already been successfully achieved in rodents by organotypic and soft matrix culture systems. However, the former does not allow single cell input, and the latter presents as a simple thick layer in which all cells are embedded. We explored a new culture system using a mouse model by employing an alginate-based hydrogel and 3D bioprinting, to control scaffold design and cell deposition. We produced testicular constructs consisting of printed cell-free scaffolds (CFS) with prepubertal testicular cells (TC) in their easy-to-access macropores. Here, the pores represented the only cell compartment (TC/CFS). Double-cell compartment testicular constructs were achieved by culturing magnetic-activated cell sorting-enriched epithelial cells in the pores of interstitial cell-laden scaffolds (CD49f+/CLS). Cell spheres formed in the pores in the weeks following cell seeding on both CFS and CLS. Although restoration of the tubular architecture was not observed, patches of post-meiotic cells including elongated spermatids were found in 66% of TC/CFS. Differentiation up to the level of round spermatids and elongated spermatids was observed in all and 33% of CD49f+/CLS constructs, respectively. Organ culture served as the reference method for IVS, with complete spermatogenesis identified in 80% of cultivated prepubertal tissue fragments. So far, this is the first report applying a 3D bioprinting approach for IVS. Further optimization of the scaffold design and seeding parameters might be permissive for tubular architecture recreation and thereby increase the efficiency of IVS in printed testicular constructs. While it remains to be tested whether the gametes generated on the alginate-based scaffolds can support embryogenesis following IVF, this IVS approach might be useful for (patho)physiological studies and drug-screening applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number035011
JournalBiofabrication
Volume11
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 26 Apr 2019

    Research areas

  • Alginates/pharmacology, Animals, Cell Differentiation/drug effects, Male, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Organ Culture Techniques, Printing, Three-Dimensional, Spermatogenesis/drug effects, Spermatozoa/cytology, Testis/physiology, Tissue Engineering, Tissue Scaffolds/chemistry

ID: 49139959