This paper describes an origami-inspired self-folding method to form three-dimensional (3D) microstructures of co-cultured cells. After a confluent monolayer of fibroblasts (NIH/3T3 cells) with loaded hepatocytes (HepG2 cells) was cultured onto two-dimensional (2D) microplates, degradation of the alginate sacrificial layer in the system by addition of alginate lyase triggered NIH/3T3 cells to self-fold the microplates around HepG2 cells, and then 3D cell co-culture microstructures were spontaneously formed. Using this method, we can create a large number of 3D cell co-culture microstructures swiftly with ease in the same time. We find that HepG2 cells confined in the 3D cell co-culture microstructures have an ability to enhance the secreted albumin compared to 2D system in a long culture period. The result indicates that the origami-based cell self-folding technique presented here is useful in regenerative medicine and the preclinical stage of drug development.
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