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Crit Rev Biomed Eng. 2011;39(3):241-59.

Neural tissue engineering for neuroregeneration and biohybridized interface microsystems in vivo (Part 2).

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Department of Neurosurgery, Center for Brain Injury & Repair, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


Neural tissue engineering offers tremendous promise to combat the effects of disease, aging, or injury in the nervous system. Here we review neural tissue engineering with respect to the design of living tissue to directly replace damaged or diseased neural tissue, or to augment the capacity for nervous system regeneration and restore lost function. This article specifically addresses the development and implementation of tissue engineered three-dimensional (3-D) neural constructs and biohybridized neural-electrical microsystems. Living 3-D neural constructs may be "pre-engineered" in vitro with controlled neuroanatomical and functional characteristics for neuroregeneration, to recapitulate lost neuroanatomy, or to serve as a nervous tissue interface to a device. One application being investigated is developing constructs of axonal tracts that, upon transplantation, may facilitate nervous system repair by directly restoring lost connections or by serving as a targeted scaffold to promote host regeneration by exploiting axon-mediated axonal regeneration. In another application, living nervous tissue engineered constructs are being investigated to biohybridize neural-electrical interface microsystems for functional integration with the nervous system. With this design, in vivo neuritic ingrowth and synaptic integration may occur with the living component, potentially exploiting a more natural integration with the nonorganic interface. Overall, the use of tissue engineered 3-D neural constructs may significantly advance regeneration or device-based deficit mitigation in the nervous system that has not been achieved by non-tissue engineering approaches.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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