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Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2006 Mar;7(3):211-24.

Capturing complex 3D tissue physiology in vitro.

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Biological Engineering Division, Mechanical Engineering Department and Biotech/Pharma Engineering Center, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 16-429, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.


The emergence of tissue engineering raises new possibilities for the study of complex physiological and pathophysiological processes in vitro. Many tools are now available to create 3D tissue models in vitro, but the blueprints for what to make have been slower to arrive. We discuss here some of the 'design principles' for recreating the interwoven set of biochemical and mechanical cues in the cellular microenvironment, and the methods for implementing them. We emphasize applications that involve epithelial tissues for which 3D models could explain mechanisms of disease or aid in drug development.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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