3D bioprinted endometrial stem cells on melt electrospun poly ε-caprolactone mesh for pelvic floor application promote anti-inflammatory responses in mice

Kallyanashis Paul, Saeedeh Darzi, Gordon McPhee, Mark P. Del Borgo, Jerome A. Werkmeister, Caroline E. Gargett, Shayanti Mukherjee

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Endometrial mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (eMSCs) exhibit excellent regenerative capacity in the endometrial lining of the uterus following menstruation and high proliferative capacity in vitro. Bioprinting eMSCs onto a mesh could be a potential therapy for Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP). This study reports an alternative treatment strategy targeting vaginal wall repair using bioprinting of eMSCs encapsulated in a hydrogel and 3D melt electrospun mesh to generate a tissue engineering construct. Following a CAD, 3D printed poly ε-caprolactone (PCL) meshes were fabricated using melt electrospinning (MES) at different temperatures using a GMP clinical grade GESIM Bioscaffolder. Electron and atomic force microscopies revealed that MES meshes fabricated at 100 °C and with a speed 20 mm/s had the largest open pore diameter (47.2 ± 11.4 μm) and the lowest strand thickness (121.4 ± 46 μm) that promoted optimal eMSC attachment. An Aloe Vera-Sodium Alginate (AV-ALG) composite based hydrogel was optimised to a 1:1 mixture (1%AV-1%ALG) and eMSCs, purified from human endometrial biopsies, were then bioprinted in this hydrogel onto the MES printed meshes. Acute in vivo foreign body response assessment in NSG mice revealed that eMSC printed on MES constructs promoted tissue integration, eMSC retention and an anti-inflammatory M2 macrophage phenotype characterised by F4/80+CD206+ colocalization. Our results address an unmet medical need highlighting the potential of 3D bioprinted eMSC-MES meshes as an alternative approach to overcome the current challenges with non-degradable knitted meshes in POP treatment. Statement of Significance: This study presents the first report of bioprinting mesenchymal stem cells derived from woman endometrium (eMSCs) to boost Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP) treatment. It impacts over 50% of elderly women with no optimal treatment at present. The overall study is conducted in three stages as fabricating a melt electrospun (MES) mesh, bioprinting eMSCs into a Ca2+ free Aloe Vera-Alginate (AV-Alg) based hydrogel and in vivo study. Our data showed that AV-ALG hydrogel potentially suppresses the foreign body response and further addition of eMSCs triggered a high influx of anti-inflammatory CD206+ M2 macrophages. Our final construct demonstrates a favourable foreign body response to predict expected tissue integration, therefore, provides a potential for developing an alternative treatment for POP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)162-176
Number of pages15
JournalActa Biomaterialia
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019


  • Bioprinting
  • Endometrial mesenchymal stem cells (eMSCs)
  • Macrophage response
  • Melt electrospinning (MES)
  • Pelvic mesh
  • Pelvic organ prolapse

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