Int J Mol Sci 2020 Sep 23;21(19). Epub 2020 Sep 23.
Department of Surgical Sciences, University of Torino, via Nizza 230, 10126 Torino, Italy.
Reconstruction of bony defects is challenging when conventional grafting methods are used because of their intrinsic limitations (biological cost and/or biological properties). Bone regeneration techniques are rapidly evolving since the introduction of three-dimensional (3D) bioprinting. Bone tissue engineering is a branch of regenerative medicine that aims to find new solutions to treat bone defects, which can be repaired by 3D printed living tissues. Its aim is to overcome the limitations of conventional treatment options by improving osteoinduction and osteoconduction. Several techniques of bone bioprinting have been developed: inkjet, extrusion, and light-based 3D printers are nowadays available. Bioinks, i.e., the printing materials, also presented an evolution over the years. It seems that these new technologies might be extremely promising for bone regeneration. The purpose of the present review is to give a comprehensive summary of the past, the present, and future developments of bone bioprinting and bioinks, focusing the attention on crucial aspects of bone bioprinting such as selecting cell sources and attaining a viable vascularization within the newly printed bone. The main bioprinters currently available on the market and their characteristics have been taken into consideration, as well.