Engineered microenvironments for 3D cell culture and regenerative medicine: challenges, advances, and trends

Anna Guller*, Aleksandra Igrunkova

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review

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Abstract

The overall goal of regenerative medicine is to restore the functional performance of the tissues and organs that have been severely damaged or lost due to traumas and diseases. This goal may be achieved by stimulating the body’s regenerative capacities, or by replacing the affected anatomical structures with the missing tissue components. The primary methodology addressing this challenge is known as tissue engineering. As an engineering approach, it implies finding reliable solutions via rational design of the new systems from the defined components. The conventional tissue engineering triad of essential components includes cells, scaffolds (as mimetics for the extracellular matrix, or ECM), and pro-regenerative signaling factors. One of the key tissue engineering techniques involves growing cells in three-dimensional (3D) environments, in contrast to the traditional in vitro culture on flat and stiff plastic and glass surfaces. There is a vast body of literature on the advantages of the 3D cell culture over the 2D (traditional) one. However, it has gradually become appreciated that increasing the dimensionality of the cell culture environments from the 2D to the 3D one is not enough. The last decade of research has led to the understanding of the high level of reciprocal interdependency between the cells and their microenvironments, which are unique for every organ, tissue type, functional state, and age. It, therefore, should be considered in every attempt to rebuild the functional or diseased tissue artificially.
This Special Issue provides a snapshot of the state-of-the-art approaches to biologically accurate reconstruction of living structures for regenerative medicine and 3D cell culture. It consists of the works originating from 11 countries around the globe, including four review articles [1,2,3,4] and five reports on the original research [5,6,7,8,9] that were submitted between the 11th of April 2021 and the 25th of March 2022. Below, the key statements of contributing publications are discussed. Next, we propose our summary of the advances, trends, and challenges in the engineered microenvironments for 3D cell culture and regenerative medicine that become visible as a result of collective efforts of the authors of this Special Issue.
Original languageEnglish
Article number17
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalBioengineering
Volume10
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2022. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

Keywords

  • Tissue engineering
  • Regenerative medicine
  • 3D culture
  • Microenvironment
  • Stiffness
  • Scaffolds
  • Spatial architecture
  • Lungs
  • Liver
  • Bone

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