AccScience Publishing / IJB / Volume 10 / Issue 2 / DOI: 10.36922/ijb.1797

Preparation of tunable hollow composite microfibers assisted by microfluidic spinning and its application in the construction of in vitro neural models

Jingyun Ma1* Wei Li1,2 Lingling Tian2 Xinghua Gao2*
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1 Ningbo Institute of Innovation for Combined Medicine and Engineering, The Affiliated Lihuili Hospital of Ningbo University, Ningbo, Zhejiang, China
2 Materials Genome Institute, Shanghai University, Shanghai, China
IJB 2024, 10(2), 1797
Submitted: 11 September 2023 | Accepted: 7 November 2023 | Published: 11 January 2024
© 2024 by the Author(s). This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( )

Microfluidic spinning, which has recently emerged as an important approach to processing hydrogels, can handle the flow in the fluid channel and generate microfibers in a controlled and mild manner, and therefore, it is suitable for cell loading, long-term culture, and tissue engineering. In this study, we utilized three-dimensional (3D) printing technology to prepare microfluidic chip templates with different microchannel heights in a one-step manner and obtained microfluidic spinning and microfiber assembly microchips. Hollow calcium alginate (CaA)/gelatin methacrylate (GelMA) composite microfibers were successfully prepared using a microfluidic spinning microchip combined with different fluid-injection strategies. The obtained hollow microfibers had one, two, or three lumens, and different inclusions could be added to the fiber walls. Hollow microfibers with a single lumen were used to load human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) and exhibited good cell compatibility and barrier functions. We constructed a neural model based on the HUVEC-loaded hollow microfibers using a customized 3D printer. Using this established neural model, we induced the neural differentiation of rat adrenal medullary pheochromocytoma cells (PC12) using nerve growth factor. Axonal length, tubulin expression, and related gene (GAP-43 and TH) expression in PC12 cells were assessed. The current findings underscore the potential of utilizing microfluidic spinning in in vitro blood–brain barrier simulation, neuropharmaceutical and toxin evaluation, and brain-on-a-chip construction.

Microfluidic spinning
Hollow microfiber
3D bioprinting
PC12 cells
Neural differentiation
This work was supported by the Ningbo Natural Science Foundation (grant no. 2022J252) and Ningbo Medical and Health Leading Academic Discipline Project (grant no. 2022-F04).
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Conflict of interest
The authors declare no conflicts of interest.
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International Journal of Bioprinting, Electronic ISSN: 2424-8002 Print ISSN: 2424-7723, Published by AccScience Publishing