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Table 1 Comparison of features of decellularized tissue vs. 3D bioprinting for solid organ fabrication

From: Solid organ fabrication: comparison of decellularization to 3D bioprinting

Feature Decellularization 3D Bioprinting
Architecture Fidelity Retains complex, intact ECM architecture. Retains vascular tree supportive of recellularization. Attains moderately complex geometries with precision. Simple structures with vasculature have been printed.
Cell Positioning Precise cell positioning is not possible. Recellularization is perfusion- based and therefore stochastic. Specific localization of cells at multiple length scales is possible.
Biochemical Signaling Innate ECM- based biochemical signaling. Biochemical cues are provided through incorporation of ECM, growth factors or other signaling molecules into the bio-ink.
Mechanical Integrity Decellularized organs are mechanically weak with limited ability to resist shear; this can improve with recellularization and long term culture. A range of mechanical properties can be achieved based on bio-ink selection.
Flexibility Limited availability of donor organs unless xenogeneic tissue is used. Ability to repopulate with multiple cell type is challenging. Biomaterial selection and design is relatively flexible. However, candidate materials are somewhat limited. Only 2–3 components can be printed simultaneously.
Method Maturity For certain tissue types optimized procedures have been developed and automated for efficient decellularization and recellularization. Solid organs with innate vasculature has not yet been realized.
Customization Customization of size and shape is limited. Can be tailored for any size or defect.
Immunogenicity Limited immunogenicity, though studies ongoing with respect to adaptive immune responses. Largely unexplored, though immunological responses might be avoided by including immunomodulatory agents in bio-ink.
Best Applications Organs with limited numbers of different cells and high vasculature to tissue ratio (blood vessel, lung, bladder). Organs with intermediately complex geometries and tight packing (bone, cartilage; more complex geometries such as heart, kidney, liver may be possible in future).