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Microfabrication and microfluidics for tissue engineering: state of the art and future opportunities

Royal Society of Chemistry
Publication Date
  • Biology
  • Engineering
  • Medicine
  • Physics


An introductory overview of the use of microfluidic devices for tissue engineering is presented. After a brief description of the background of tissue engineering, different application areas of microfluidic devices are examined. Among these are methods for patterning cells, topographical control over cells and tissues, and bioreactors. Examples where microfluidic devices have been employed are presented such as basal lamina, vascular tissue, liver, bone, cartilage and neurons. It is concluded that until today, microfluidic devices have not been used extensively in tissue engineering. Major contributions are expected in two areas. The first is growth of complex tissue, where microfluidic structures ensure a steady blood supply, thereby circumventing the well-known problem of providing larger tissue structures with a continuous flow of oxygen and nutrition, and withdrawal of waste products. The second, and probably more important function of microfluidics, combined with micro/nanotechnology, lies in the development of in vitro physiological systems for studying fundamental biological phenomena.

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