Generation of tissue constructs for cardiovascular regenerative medicine: From cell procurement to scaffold design
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The ability of the human body to naturally recover from coronary heart disease is limited because cardiac cells are terminally differentiated, have low proliferation rates, and low turn-over rates. Cardiovascular tissue engineering offers the potential for production of cardiac tissue ex vivo, but is currently limited by several challenges: (i) Tissue engineering constructs require pure populations of seed cells, (ii) Fabrication of 3-D geometrical structures with features of the same length scales that exist in native tissue is non-trivial, and (iii) Cells require stimulation from the appropriate biological, electrical and mechanical factors. In this review, we summarize the current state of microfluidic techniques for enrichment of subpopulations of cells required for cardiovascular tissue engineering, which offer unique advantages over traditional plating and FACS/MACS-based enrichment. We then summarize modern techniques for producing tissue engineering scaffolds that mimic native cardiac tissue.
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