Symbiotic Photosynthetic Oxygenation within 3D-Bioprinted Vascularized Tissues

Sushila Maharjan, Jacqueline Alva, Cassandra Cámara, Andrés G. Rubio, David Hernández, Clément Delavaux, Erandy Correa, Mariana D. Romo, Diana Bonilla, Mille Luis Santiago, Wanlu Li, Feng Cheng, Guoliang Ying, Yu Shrike Zhang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


In this study, we present the photosynthetic oxygen (O2) supply to mammalian cells within a volumetric extracellular matrix-like construct, whereby a three-dimensional (3D)-bioprinted fugitive pattern encapsulating unicellular green algae, Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, served as a natural photosynthetic O2 generator. The presence of bioprinted C. reinhardtii enhanced the viability and functionality of mammalian cells while reducing the hypoxic conditions within the tissues. We were able to subsequently endothelialize the hollow perfusable microchannels formed after enzymatic removal of the bioprinted C. reinhardtii-laden patterns from the matrices following the initial oxygenation period to obtain biologically relevant vascularized mammalian tissue constructs. The feasibility of co-culture of C. reinhardtii with human cells, the printability and the enzymatic degradability of the fugitive bioink, and the exploration of C. reinhardtii as a natural, eco-friendly, cost-effective, and sustainable source of O2 would likely promote the development of engineered tissues, tissue models, and food for various applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)217-240
Number of pages24
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 6 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by funding from the National Institutes of Health ( K99CA201603 , R00CA201603 , R21EB025270 , R21EB026175 , R01EB028143 , R01GM134036 ), National Science Foundation ( 1936105 ), the National Science Foundation (1936105), and the Brigham Research Institute .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Inc.


  • algae
  • biofabrication
  • bioink
  • bioprinting
  • Chlamydomonas reinhardtii
  • MAP6: Development
  • oxygenation
  • photosynthesis
  • regenerative medicine
  • tissue engineering
  • vascularization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)


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