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Directed Self-Assembly of Complex-Shaped Microtissues

Dylan Dean, Jeffrey Morgan
From: Science & Medicine: Volume 10 Number 4: Page 215 (August 2008)

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Abstract: The field of tissue engineering has given rise to a new generation of tools that offer precise control over the structural organization of groups of cells or even individual cells, allowing the design of in vitro tissues that more closely resemble their native counterparts. Beyond evaluating structure and function, research now is focused on the function of structure. Cells traditionally cultured on flat petri dishes or flasks show morphologies and behaviors that can differ significantly from those of cells in the in vivo setting. Tissue engineering has developed newer methods that allow the culture of cells in three dimensions. Most of these methods create 3D tissues by seeding cells onto a scaffold of naturally occurring proteins (e.g., collagen) or biodegradable synthetic polymers (e.g., polylactic acid), and these scaffolds can be formulated in different manners, such as porous sponges or water-laden hydrogels. For some time, biologists have known that in the absence of a petri dish, scaffold, or adhesive substrate, cells will interact with one another to assemble spontaneously into a 3D microtissue or spheroid.

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