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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Impedance-Based Monitoring of Mesenchymal Stromal Cell Three-Dimensional Proliferation Using Aerosol Jet Printed Sensors: A Tissue Engineering Application.

  • Author(s): Tonello, Sarah
  • Bianchetti, Andrea
  • Braga, Simona
  • Almici, Camillo
  • Marini, Mirella
  • Piovani, Giovanna
  • Guindani, Michele
  • Dey, Kamol
  • Sartore, Luciana
  • Re, Federica
  • Russo, Domenico
  • Cantù, Edoardo
  • Lopomo, Nicola Francesco
  • Serpelloni, Mauro
  • Sardini, Emilio
  • et al.

One of the main hurdles to improving scaffolds for regenerative medicine is the development of non-invasive methods to monitor cell proliferation within three-dimensional environments. Recently, an electrical impedance-based approach has been identified as promising for three-dimensional proliferation assays. A low-cost impedance-based solution, easily integrable with multi-well plates, is here presented. Sensors were developed using biocompatible carbon-based ink on foldable polyimide substrates by means of a novel aerosol jet printing technique. The setup was tested to monitor the proliferation of human mesenchymal stromal cells into previously validated gelatin-chitosan hybrid hydrogel scaffolds. Reliability of the methodology was assessed comparing variations of the electrical impedance parameters with the outcomes of enzymatic proliferation assay. Results obtained showed a magnitude increase and a phase angle decrease at 4 kHz (maximum of 2.5 kΩ and -9 degrees) and an exponential increase of the modeled resistance and capacitance components due to the cell proliferation (maximum of 1.5 kΩ and 200 nF). A statistically significant relationship with enzymatic assay outcomes could be detected for both phase angle and electric model parameters. Overall, these findings support the potentiality of this non-invasive approach for continuous monitoring of scaffold-based cultures, being also promising in the perspective of optimizing the scaffold-culture system.

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