Published on Tue Jul 20 2021

Construction of functional biliary epithelial branched networks with predefined geometry using digital light stereolithography

Mazari-Arrighi, E., Ayollo, D., Farhat, W., Marret, A., Gontran, E., Dupuis-Williams, P., Larghero, J., Chatelain, F., Fuchs, A.

Cholangiocytes, biliary epithelial cells, are known to spontaneously self-organize into spherical cysts with a central lumen. In this work, we explore a promising biocompatible stereolithographic approach to encapsulate the cells into 3D hydrogel structures.

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Abstract

Cholangiocytes, biliary epithelial cells, are known to spontaneously self-organize into spherical cysts with a central lumen. In this work, we explore a promising biocompatible stereolithographic approach to encapsulate cholangiocytes into geometrically-controlled 3D hydrogel structures to guide them towards the formation of branched tubular networks. We demonstrate that within the appropriate mix of hydrogels, normal rat cholangiocytes can proliferate, migrate and organize into branched tubular structures, form walls consisting of a cell monolayer, transport fluorescent dyes into the luminal space and show markers of epithelial maturation such as primary cilia. The resulting structures have dimensions typically found in the intralobular and intrahepatic bile ducts and are stable for weeks, without any requirement of bulk supporting material, thereby offering total access to the basal side of these biliary epithelial constructs.