Scaffolds and Matrix for Tissue regeneration
In native state, majority of the cells (except the red blood cells) in our body are anchorage dependent and remain attached to a rigid support called extracellular matrix (ECM). It plays a key role in providing structural support to the cells and adds to the mechanical properties of tissues. It also helps the cells respond to the signals of micro-environment. Due to highly dynamic properties of ECM, it cannot be mimicked. But, scientists have developed biomaterials and biopolymers that can act as ECM and serve the similar functions in engineered tissues. The biomaterials should have some features like bioactivity, porosity, bio-compatibility etc. There are four scaffolding approaches as of now: 1) Pre-made porous scaffolds for cell seeding 2) Decellularized extracellular matrix for cell seeding 3) Confluent cells with secreted extracellular matrix 4) Confluent cells with secreted extracellular matrix. Preparation of scaffolds is a challenging task. Various approaches are Nanofiber self-assembly, Solvent casting and particulate leaching, Gas foaming, Laser-assisted bioprinting etc..
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