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Biocompatible 3D printed polymers via fused deposition modelling direct C2C12 cellular phenotype in vitro

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journal contribution
posted on 17.08.2017, 12:51 by Rowan Rimington, Andrew Capel, Steven Christie, Mark Lewis
The capability to 3D print bespoke biologically receptive parts within short time periods has driven the growing prevalence of additive manufacture (AM) technology within biological settings, however limited research concerning cellular interaction with 3D printed polymers has been undertaken. In this work, we used skeletal muscle C2C12 cell line in order to ascertain critical evidence of cellular behaviour in response to multiple bio-receptive candidate polymers; polylactic acid (PLA), acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and polycarbonate (PC) 3D printed via fused deposition modelling (FDM). The extrusion based nature of FDM elicited polymer specific topographies, within which C2C12 cells exhibited reduced metabolic activity when compared to optimised surfaces of tissue culture plastic, however assay viability readings remained high across polymers outlining viable phenotypes. C2C12 cells exhibited consistently high levels of morphological alignment across polymers, however differential myotube widths and levels of transcriptional myogenin expression appeared to demonstrate response specific thresholds at which varying polymer selection potentiates cellular differentiation, elicits pre-mature early myotube formation and directs subsequent morphological phenotype. Here we observed biocompatible AM polymers manufactured via FDM, which also appear to hold the potential to simultaneously manipulate the desired biological phenotype and enhance the biomimicry of skeletal muscle cells in vitro via AM polymer choice and careful selection of machine processing parameters. When considered in combination with the associated design freedom of AM, this may provide the opportunity to not only enhance the efficiency of creating biomimetic models, but also to precisely control the biological output within such scaffolds.


This research was undertaken within a mini-centre for doctoral training (CDT) funded by Loughborough University. This work was supported in part by EPSRC Grant REF: EP/ L02067X/2.



  • Science


  • Chemistry

Published in

Lab Chip


RIMINGTON, R.P. ... et al, 2017. Biocompatible 3D printed polymers via fused deposition modelling direct C2C12 cellular phenotype in vitro. Lab on a Chip, 17, pp. 2982-2993.


Royal Society of Chemistry


VoR (Version of Record)

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This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 International (CC BY 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/ by/3.0/

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Open Access Article. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported Licence









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