June 2022
Volume 63, Issue 7
Open Access
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   June 2022
Engineering the inner neural retina using electrospun scaffolds and extrusion-based bioprinting
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Fatima Elhassan Mohammed Abukunna
    Ophthalmology, University of Missouri Kansas City School of Medicine, Kansas City, Missouri, United States
  • Afnan M Aladdad
    Ophthalmology, University of Missouri Kansas City School of Medicine, Kansas City, Missouri, United States
  • Richard Nolan
    Ophthalmology, University of Missouri Kansas City School of Medicine, Kansas City, Missouri, United States
  • Michael Vierra
    Ophthalmology, University of Missouri Kansas City School of Medicine, Kansas City, Missouri, United States
  • Karl E Kador
    Ophthalmology, University of Missouri Kansas City School of Medicine, Kansas City, Missouri, United States
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships   Fatima Abukunna None; Afnan Aladdad None; Richard Nolan None; Michael Vierra None; Karl Kador None
  • Footnotes
    Support  2018 Research to Prevent Blindness/Stavros Niarchos Foundation International Research Collaborators Award, R01EY028946
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science June 2022, Vol.63, 3157 – F0431. doi:
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    • Get Citation

      Fatima Elhassan Mohammed Abukunna, Afnan M Aladdad, Richard Nolan, Michael Vierra, Karl E Kador; Engineering the inner neural retina using electrospun scaffolds and extrusion-based bioprinting. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2022;63(7):3157 – F0431.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Abstract

Purpose : 3D bioprinting technique has been used to recapitulate the cellular organization of several tissues throughout the body, including the cornea, limbus, and parts of the retina. However, the capacity to recreate these tissues is derived not just from the placement of the printed cells but also in the "bio-ink" material used to print cells and the scaffold substrate on which the cells are printed, both of which can affect the cell survival, gene expression, and cell migration. Here, we will study the effect of different bioink materials on the 3D printing of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) and astrocytes, studying the survival of the printed cells and the interactions of the two cell types in our model system.

Methods : RGCs and astrocytes were isolated from early postnatal rodents and suspended in bioinks prepared from alginate, RGD peptide conjugated alginate, collagen, matrigel, or mixtures of these gels and printed using an extrusion based bioprinter. Astrocytes and RGCs were printed separately on electrospun radial scaffolds and survival evaluated by live dead analysis and cell morphology / neurite outgrowth. Samples were then printed on the same scaffolds with astrocytes in the scaffold center and RGCs surrounding to test the ability of the astrocytes to secrete factors that polarize RGC growth and to evaluate the ability of the astrocytes to migrate across the scaffold.

Results : RGCs and astrocytes were able to survive the extrusion printing process in all bioinks at a high percentage, however, RGCs were unable to extend neurites and astrocytes were unable to stretch on bioinks that did not include matrigel. On samples where astrocytes and RGCs were printed on the same scaffold, astrocytes secreted factors were only able to polarize RGC growth within 100 μm of the printed astrocytes. On these samples, RGCs were observed entering the matrigel printed at the scaffold center, while astrocytes were able to migrate from the matrigel onto the radial scaffold.

Conclusions : Electrospun scaffolds combined with 3D bioprinting represent a potential device providing an in vitro model for understanding retinal development and the interaction between RGCs and astrocytes.

This abstract was presented at the 2022 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Denver, CO, May 1-4, 2022, and virtually.

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