Innovative Alveolar Organoids: A Synthetic Fibrinogen-based 3D Scaffold For Advanced Drug Screening

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The development of alveolar organoids for drug screening represents a significant advancement in respiratory research, offering a more physiologically relevant model for studying lung diseases and testing therapeutic interventions. This study explores the creation of alveolar organoids using a comprehensive suite of growth factors to replicate the intricate microenvironment of the human alveoli. A pivotal aspect of this innovation is the utilization of synthetic fibrinogen (fibrin) as a biopolymer in the formulation of bio-ink, facilitating the construction of a three-dimensional (3D) scaffold essential for organoid growth. Synthetic fibrinogen, chosen for its biocompatibility and ability to mimic the extracellular matrix, supports cellular adhesion, proliferation, and differentiation.

The bio-ink's mechanical properties were optimized to match the native alveolar tissue, ensuring the formation of a robust and functional 3D structure. Through precise bioprinting techniques, the bio-ink was utilized to create a scaffold that supports the growth and differentiation of alveolar epithelial cells, endothelial cells, and fibroblasts, closely emulating the architecture and functionality of actual alveoli. The organoids developed exhibit key physiological characteristics of human alveoli, including the formation of alveolar sacs, surfactant production, and gas exchange capabilities.

A notable feature of this system is its tunability, allowing customization of the organoid environment to meet specific research needs. By adjusting the composition and concentration of growth factors and the mechanical properties of the synthetic fibrinogen-based bio-ink, researchers can fine-tune the organoid's structural and functional characteristics. This flexibility enhances the model's utility for a wide range of applications, from basic research to high-throughput drug screening.

The comprehensive suite of growth factors incorporated into the bio-ink includes:

  • Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF)
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor (FGF)
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF)
  • Transforming Growth Factor-beta (TGF-β)
  • Insulin-like Growth Factor (IGF)
  • Platelet-Derived Growth Factor (PDGF)
  • Keratinocyte Growth Factor (KGF)

Furthermore, synthetic fibrinogen offers several advantages over commonly used biomaterials such as alginate, Matrigel, and other polymers in tissue engineering. Unlike alginate, which lacks cell-adhesive properties, fibrinogen supports robust cellular interactions. Compared to Matrigel, which is derived from murine sources and presents variability and potential immunogenicity issues, synthetic fibrinogen provides a more consistent and defined composition, reducing variability and enhancing reproducibility. Additionally, fibrinogen’s ability to be cross-linked under physiological conditions ensures better mechanical stability and integrity of the 3D structures.

This novel approach not only provides a more accurate platform for drug screening but also enhances our understanding of lung biology and disease mechanisms. The use of synthetic fibrinogen-based bio-ink in organoid fabrication holds promise for broader applications in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, offering a versatile and scalable solution for creating complex tissue models.


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  • Name:
    Sureshkumar J
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    Team members:
    • THILAK G
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