Gut Liver.  2017 Jan;11(1):121-128. 10.5009/gnl16010.

Generation of Multilayered 3D Structures of HepG2 Cells Using a Bio-printing Technique

  • 1Department of Surgery, Hanyang University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 2Department of Nature-Inspired Nano Convergence Systems, Korea Institute of Machinery and Materials, Daejeon, Korea.
  • 3Department of Pathology, Hanyang University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 4Department of Biomedical Science, Graduate School of Biomedical Science Engineering, Hanyang University, Seoul, Korea.


Chronic liver disease is a major widespread cause of death, and whole liver transplantation is the only definitive treatment for patients with end-stage liver diseases. However, many problems, including donor shortage, surgical complications and cost, hinder their usage. Recently, tissue-engineering technology provided a potential breakthrough for solving these problems. Three-dimensional (3D) printing technology has been used to mimic tissues and organs suitable for transplantation, but applications for the liver have been rare.
A 3D bioprinting system was used to construct 3D printed hepatic structures using alginate. HepG2 cells were cultured on these 3D structures for 3 weeks and examined by fluorescence microscopy, histology and immunohistochemistry. The expression of liver-specific markers was quantified on days 1, 7, 14, and 21.
The cells grew well on the alginate scaffold, and liver-specific gene expression increased. The cells grew more extensively in 3D culture than two-dimensional culture and exhibited better structural aspects of the liver, indicating that the 3D bioprinting method recapitulates the liver architecture.
The 3D bioprinting of hepatic structures appears feasible. This technology may become a major tool and provide a bridge between basic science and the clinical challenges for regenerative medicine of the liver.


Hep G2 cell; Printing, three-dimensional
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