A 3D bioprinting approach has been developed to facilitate tissue morphogenesis by directly depositing organoid-forming stem cells in an extracellular matrix, with the ability to generate intestinal epithelia and branched vascular tissue constructs.
Bioprinting promises enormous control over the spatial deposition of cells in three dimensions(1-7), but current approaches have had limited success at reproducing the intricate micro-architecture, cell-type diversity and function of native tissues formed through cellular self-organization. We introduce a three-dimensional bioprinting concept that uses organoid-forming stem cells as building blocks that can be deposited directly into extracellular matrices conducive to spontaneous self-organization. By controlling the geometry and cellular density, we generated centimetre-scale tissues that comprise self-organized features such as lumens, branched vasculature and tubular intestinal epithelia with in vivo-like crypts and villus domains. Supporting cells were deposited to modulate morphogenesis in space and time, and different epithelial cells were printed sequentially to mimic the organ boundaries present in the gastrointestinal tract. We thus show how biofabrication and organoid technology can be merged to control tissue self-organization from millimetre to centimetre scales, opening new avenues for drug discovery, diagnostics and regenerative medicine.