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Adv Drug Deliv Rev. 1998 Aug 3;33(1-2):111-139.

Host response to tissue engineered devices.

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Cox Laboratory for Biomedical Engineering, Institute of Biosciences and Bioengineering, Rice University, 6100 South Main, Houston, TX 77005, USA


The two main components of a tissue engineered device are the transplanted cells and the biomaterial, creating a device for the restoration or modification of tissue or organ function. The implantation of polymer/cell constructs combines concepts of biomaterials and cell transplantation. The interconnections between the host responses to the biomaterial and transplanted cells determines the biocompatibility of the device. This review describes the inflammatory response to the biomaterial component and immune response towards transplanted cells. Emphasis is on how the presence of the transplanted cell construct affects the host response. The inflammatory response towards a biomaterial can impact the immune response towards transplanted cells and vice versa. Immune rejection is the most important host response towards the cellular component of tissue engineered devices containing allogeneic, xenogeneic or immunogenic ex vivo manipulated autologous cells. The immune mechanisms towards allografts and xenografts are outlined to provide a basis for the mechanistic hypotheses of the immune response towards encapsulated cells, with antigen shedding and the indirect pathway of antigen presentation predominating. A review of experimental evidence illustrates examples of the inflammatory response towards biodegradable polymer scaffold materials, examples of devices appropriately integrated as assessed morphologically with the host for various applications including bone, nerve, and skin regeneration, and of the immune response towards encapsulated allogeneic and xenogeneic cells.

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