Automated fabrication of a scalable heart-on-a-chip device by 3D printing of thermoplastic elastomer nanocomposite and hot embossing
Wu, Q.; Xue, R.; Zhao, Y.; Ramsay, K.; Yan Wang, E.; Savoji, H.; Veres, T.; Cartmell, S.H.; Radisic, M. (2024). Automated fabrication of a scalable heart-on-a-chip device by 3D printing of thermoplastic elastomer nanocomposite and hot embossing. Bioactive Material. 2024, vol. 33 (46-60).
The successful translation of organ-on-a-chip devices requires the development of an automated workflow for device fabrication, which is challenged by the need for precise deposition of multiple classes of materials in micro-meter scaled configurations. Many current heart-on-a-chip devices are produced manually, requiring the expertise and dexterity of skilled operators. Here, we devised an automated and scalable fabrication method to engineer a Biowire II multiwell platform to generate human iPSC-derived cardiac tissues. This high-throughput heart-on-a-chip platform incorporated fluorescent nanocomposite microwires as force sensors, produced from quantum dots and thermoplastic elastomer, and 3D printed on top of a polystyrene tissue culture base patterned by hot embossing. An array of built-in carbon electrodes was embedded in a single step into the base, flanking the microwells on both sides. The facile and rapid 3D printing approach efficiently and seamlessly scaled up the Biowire II system from an 8-well chip to a 24-well and a 96-well format, resulting in an increase of platform fabrication efficiency by 17,5000–69,000% per well. The device’s compatibility with long-term electrical stimulation in each well facilitated the targeted generation of mature human iPSC-derived cardiac tissues, evident through a positive force-frequency relationship, post-rest potentiation, and well-aligned sarcomeric apparatus. This system’s ease of use and its capacity to gauge drug responses in matured cardiac tissue make it a powerful and reliable platform for rapid preclinical drug screening and development.