What is tissue engineering?
Tissue Engineering is a discipline that aims at repair, replacement and regeneration of specific tissues. Electrospun nanofibrous scaffolds made of synthetic and natural biocompatible materials have been widely used for this purpose due to their ability to mimic natural extra cellular matrix and provide the microenvironment and support, necessary for the proper growth of cultured cells.
Scaffold designing has been intensively studied in the past years. For the efficient functioning of nanofibrous scaffolds, to help generating novel tissues, it should possess correct characteristics such as
- High porosity
- High surface area
- Mechanical strength
Of all the other techniques like phase separation, solvent casting, etc., electrospinning has proved to be an efficient and cost effective technique for the production of nanofibrous scaffold possessing most of the desired parameters for tissue engineering.
How tissue engineering is done?
The concept of Tissue Engineering is to culture cellsin vitro on a 3D nanofibrous scaffold and implant it inside the body of an individual where it grows and perform repair action.
- Remove cells from the body (stem cells/ functionally differentiated cells)
- Cell expansion in culture
- Seed the cultured cells on nanofibrous scaffolds in culture media supplemented with growth factors.
- Leave in culture to form functional tissue.
- Re-implant the engineered cell-scaffold construct to the injury site for repair.
Thus tissue engineering involves inherent technologies like cell culture, scaffold fabrication and in vivo implant of cell-scaffold construct.
Advances in tissue engineering technology
Various natural and synthetic polymers have been employed for the fabrication of such scaffolds. Natural polymers like alginates, gelatin, chitosan, and collagen have been electrospun individually and in combination with synthetic polymers like PLLA, PCL, PLGA, PLA-CL.
Tissues like muscle, skin, vasculature, cardiac cells, nerve, bone, cartilage have been regenerated by tissue engineering approach and its application is being extended for regenerating many more of such tissues and organs.