3D Pancreatic Tissue Modeling in vitro: Advances and Prospects


The pancreas is a relatively small organ, but it has structural and functional complexity that makes it difficult to understand underlying disease mechanisms and determine effective treatments. Thus, there is a great need for more effective tools to study pancreatic disease, and breakthroughs in various fields have contributed to development of in vitro tissue models to understand the pathophysiological conditions of pancreatic disease. Here, we provide an overview of three major parts of the strategies in pancreatic tissue modeling. The advent of stem cell technology enables large-scale production of cells, which can represent individual patients’ information. The biomaterials provide cells with a three-dimensional (3D) geometry to mimic the nature of cell—matrix contacts. With the benefits of 3D culture systems, decellularized extracellular matrix materials have been introduced as a promising tool for providing tissue-specific niches to cells. In addition, several biofabrication strategies allow modeling of structural complexities including cell deposition and neighboring environment, as compared to standard embedding cells in matrix. Integration of these strategies can overcome the current challenges to each approach and guide the path towards the next generation of 3D pancreatic tissue modeling for translational medicine.

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This journal was supported by the Bio & Medical Technology Development program of the National Research Foundation (NRF) funded by the Korean government (MSIT) (2017M3A9C6032 067) and “ICT Consilience Creative Program” (IITP-2019-2011-1-00783) supervised by the IITP (Institute for Information & communications Technology Planning & Evaluation).

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Correspondence to Jinah Jang.

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Kim, M., Hwang, D.G. & Jang, J. 3D Pancreatic Tissue Modeling in vitro: Advances and Prospects. BioChip J 14, 84–99 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13206-020-4108-4

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  • Pancreatic tissue
  • Stem cell engineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Organ-on-a-chip
  • 3D bioprinting