A possible strategy in regenerative medicine is cell-sheet engineering (CSE), i.e., developing smart cell culture surfaces from which to obtain intact cell sheets (CS). The main goal of this study was to develop 3D printing via extrusion-based bioprinting of methylcellulose (MC)-based hydrogels. Hydrogels were prepared by mixing MC powder in saline solutions (Na₂SO₄ and PBS). MC-based hydrogels were analyzed to investigate the rheological behavior and thus optimize the printing process parameters. Cells were tested in vitro on ring-shaped printed hydrogels; bulk MC hydrogels were used for comparison. In vitro tests used murine embryonic fibroblasts (NIH/3T3) and endothelial murine cells (MS1), and the resulting cell sheets were characterized analyzing cell viability and immunofluorescence. In terms of CS preparation, 3D printing proved to be an optimal approach to obtain ring-shaped CS. Cell orientation was observed for the ring-shaped CS and was confirmed by the degree of circularity of their nuclei: cell nuclei in ring-shaped CS were more elongated than those in sheets detached from bulk hydrogels. The 3D printing process appears adequate for the preparation of cell sheets of different shapes for the regeneration of complex tissues.
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