New method developed for controlling pigmentation in fabricated human skin

Engineering

A new method for controlling pigmentation in fabricated human skin has been developed by researchers based in Singapore.

Technology created by the Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology and the Singapore Centre for 3D Printing at Nanyang Technological University has made it possible to control the distribution of melanin-producing skin cells on a biomimetic tissue substrate.

“Researchers have developed a new method of controlling pigmentation in fabricated human skin.“

Three different types of skin cells - keratinocytes, melanocytes and fibroblasts - were utilised as part of a two-step 'drop on demand' bioprinting method, allowing hierarchical porous collagen-based structures to be created that closely resemble the skin's dermal region.

Study leader Wei Long Ng said: "The two-step bioprinting strategy enables the standardised distribution of printed cells in a highly controlled way, as compared to the manual casting approach."

Current engineered skin constructs are often used in skin repair and grafting, toxicology, and chemical testing, but are limited by their lack of complex features such as skin pigmentation, sweat glands or hair follicles. This new method could make it possible to develop advanced skin constructs for toxicology testing and fundamental cell biology research.

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