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Biotechnol J. 2017 May;12(5). doi: 10.1002/biot.201600394. Epub 2017 Feb 21.

Development of hydrogels for regenerative engineering.

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Division of Biomedical Engineering, Department of Medicine, Biomaterials Innovation Research Center, Harvard Medical School, Brigham & Women's Hospital, MA 02139, Boston, MA, USA.
Division of Health Sciences & Technology, Harvard-Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA.
Orthopedic Department, Shanghai Tenth People's Hospital, Tongji University School of Medicine, Shanghai, China.
Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, University Hospital Tuebingen, Tuebingen, Germany.
Department of Pharmaceutical Technology, Faculty of Pharmacy, Marmara University, Istanbul, Turkey.
Department of Bioindustrial Technologies, College of Animal Bioscience & Technology, Konkuk University, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
Department of Physics, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.


The aim of regenerative engineering is to restore complex tissues and biological systems through convergence in the fields of advanced biomaterials, stem cell science, and developmental biology. Hydrogels are one of the most attractive biomaterials for regenerative engineering, since they can be engineered into tissue mimetic 3D scaffolds to support cell growth due to their similarity to native extracellular matrix. Advanced nano- and micro-technologies have dramatically increased the ability to control properties and functionalities of hydrogel materials by facilitating biomimetic fabrication of more sophisticated compositions and architectures, thus extending our understanding of cell-matrix interactions at the nanoscale. With this perspective, this review discusses the most commonly used hydrogel materials and their fabrication strategies for regenerative engineering. We highlight the physical, chemical, and functional modulation of hydrogels to design and engineer biomimetic tissues based on recent achievements in nano- and micro-technologies. In addition, current hydrogel-based regenerative engineering strategies for treating multiple tissues, such as musculoskeletal, nervous and cardiac tissue, are also covered in this review. The interaction of multiple disciplines including materials science, cell biology, and chemistry, will further play an important role in the design of functional hydrogels for the regeneration of complex tissues.


Biofabrication; Hydrogel; Nanotechnology; Regenerative engineering; Tissue regeneration

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