Publication Details

Antill-O'Brien, N., Bourke, J. & O'Connell, C. D. (2019). Layer-by-layer: The case for 3D bioprinting neurons to create patient-specific epilepsy models. Materials, 12 (19), 3218-1-3218-42.


The ability to create three-dimensional (3D) models of brain tissue from patient-derived cells, would open new possibilities in studying the neuropathology of disorders such as epilepsy and schizophrenia. While organoid culture has provided impressive examples of patient-specific models, the generation of organised 3D structures remains a challenge. 3D bioprinting is a rapidly developing technology where living cells, encapsulated in suitable bioink matrices, are printed to form 3D structures. 3D bioprinting may provide the capability to organise neuronal populations in 3D, through layer-by-layer deposition, and thereby recapitulate the complexity of neural tissue. However, printing neuron cells raises particular challenges since the biomaterial environment must be of appropriate softness to allow for the neurite extension, properties which are anathema to building self-supporting 3D structures. Here, we review the topic of 3D bioprinting of neurons, including critical discussions of hardware and bio-ink formulation requirements.



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