Computational fluid dynamic analysis of bioprinted self-supporting perfused tissue models

T. J. Sego, Matthew Prideaux, Jane Sterner, Brian Paul McCarthy, Ping Li, Lynda F. Bonewald, Burcin Ekser, Andres Tovar, Lester Jeshua Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


Natural tissues are incorporated with vasculature, which is further integrated with a cardiovascular system responsible for driving perfusion of nutrient-rich oxygenated blood through the vasculature to support cell metabolism within most cell-dense tissues. Since scaffold-free biofabricated tissues being developed into clinical implants, research models, and pharmaceutical testing platforms should similarly exhibit perfused tissue-like structures, we generated a generalizable biofabrication method resulting in self-supporting perfused (SSuPer) tissue constructs incorporated with perfusible microchannels and integrated with the modular FABRICA perfusion bioreactor. As proof of concept, we perfused an MLO-A5 osteoblast-based SSuPer tissue in the FABRICA. Although our resulting SSuPer tissue replicated vascularization and perfusion observed in situ, supported its own weight, and stained positively for mineral using Von Kossa staining, our in vitro results indicated that computational fluid dynamics (CFD) should be used to drive future construct design and flow application before further tissue biofabrication and perfusion. We built a CFD model of the SSuPer tissue integrated in the FABRICA and analyzed flow characteristics (net force, pressure distribution, shear stress, and oxygen distribution) through five SSuPer tissue microchannel patterns in two flow directions and at increasing flow rates. Important flow parameters include flow direction, fully developed flow, and tissue microchannel diameters matched and aligned with bioreactor flow channels. We observed that the SSuPer tissue platform is capable of providing direct perfusion to tissue constructs and proper culture conditions (oxygenation, with controllable shear and flow rates), indicating that our approach can be used to biofabricate tissue representing primary tissues and that we can model the system in silico.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)798-815
Number of pages18
JournalBiotechnology and Bioengineering
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020


  • 3D-bioprinting
  • biofabrication
  • bioreactor
  • computational fluid dynamics
  • perfusion
  • scaffold-free

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

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