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Tissue Eng Part B Rev. 2012 Aug;18(4):312-21. doi: 10.1089/ten.TEB.2011.0681. Epub 2012 Jul 9.

Coculture strategies in bone tissue engineering: the impact of culture conditions on pluripotent stem cell populations.

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Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20742, USA.


The use of pluripotent stem cell populations for bone tissue regeneration provides many opportunities and challenges within the bone tissue engineering field. For example, coculture strategies have been utilized to mimic embryological development of bone tissue, and particularly the critical intercellular signaling pathways. While research in bone biology over the last 20 years has expanded our understanding of these intercellular signaling pathways, we still do not fully understand the impact of the system's physical characteristics (orientation, geometry, and morphology). This review of coculture literature delineates the various forms of coculture systems and their respective outcomes when applied to bone tissue engineering. To understand fully the key differences between the different coculture methods, we must appreciate the underlying paradigms of physiological interactions. Recent advances have enabled us to extrapolate these techniques to larger dimensions and higher geometric resolutions. Finally, the contributions of bioreactors, micropatterned biomaterials, and biomaterial interaction platforms are evaluated to give a sense of the sophistication established by a combination of these concepts with coculture systems.

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