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Stem Cell Res Ther. 2013 Jan 24;4(1):8. doi: 10.1186/scrt156.

Vascular tissue engineering: biodegradable scaffold platforms to promote angiogenesis.


The ability to understand and regulate human vasculature development and differentiation has the potential to benefit patients suffering from a variety of ailments, including cardiovascular disease, peripheral vascular disease, ischemia, and burn wounds. Current clinical treatments for vascular-related diseases commonly use the grafting from patients of autologous vessels, which are limited and often damaged due to disease. Considerable progress is being made through a tissue engineering strategy in the vascular field. Tissue engineering takes a multidisciplinary approach seeking to repair, improve, or replace biological tissue function in a controlled and predictable manner. To address the clinical need to perfuse and repair damaged, ischemic tissue, one approach of vascular engineering aims to understand and promote the growth and differentiation of vascular networks. Vascular tissue engineered constructs enable the close study of vascular network assembly and vessel interactions with the surrounding microenvironment. Scaffold platforms provide a method to control network development through the biophysical regulation of different scaffold properties, such as composition, mechanics, dimensionality, and so forth. Following a short description of vascular physiology and blood vessel biomechanics, the key principles in vascular tissue engineering are discussed. This review focuses on various biodegradable scaffold platforms and demonstrates how they are being used to regulate, promote, and understand angiogenesis and vascular network formation.

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