Skin cell culture on an ear-shaped scaffold created by fused deposition modelling

H Cai, G Azangwe, Duncan Shepherd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

29 Citations (Scopus)


Tissue engineering, where cells attach and grow on a scaffold, has the potential to produce replacement ears made from natural tissues and replace the need for rubber prosthetic ears. This study investigated the feasibility of using the rapid prototyping technique of Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) to produce an ear-shaped scaffold. A three-dimensional image of the ear was used to manufacture ear-shaped scaffolds from ABS (acrylonitrile/butadiene/styrene) plastic using FDM. Human dermal fibroblasts were seeded on the scaffold (coated with fibronectin) to attach and grow in culture medium in an incubator for two weeks. Human keratinocytes were then seeded on to the fibroblast layer to attempt to produce a more realistic skin covering. The morphology of the cells were observed using scanning electron microscopy. The results show that a realistic ear-shaped scaffold can be made using FDM. Human fibroblasts were found to attach and grow. Human keratinocytes were successfully attached and grown on top of the fibroblasts and this resulted in a skin covering over the scaffold. This study shows that FDM has great potential as a manufacturing technique for ear-shaped scaffolds for tissue engineering.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375-380
Number of pages6
JournalBio-Medical Materials and Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 25 Nov 2005


  • tissue engineering
  • cell culture
  • ear
  • fibroblast
  • keratinocyte
  • rapid prototyping


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