5 years ago

A comprehensive review of cryogels and their roles in tissue engineering applications

A comprehensive review of cryogels and their roles in tissue engineering applications
The extracellular matrix is fundamental in providing an appropriate environment for cell interaction and signaling to occur. Replicating such a matrix is advantageous in the support of tissue ingrowth and regeneration through the field of tissue engineering. While scaffolds can be fabricated in many ways, cryogels have recently become a popular approach due to their macroporous structure and durability. Produced through the crosslinking of gel precursors followed by a subsequent controlled freeze/thaw cycle, the resulting cryogel provides a unique, sponge-like structure. Therefore, cryogels have proven advantageous for many tissue engineering applications including roles in bioreactor systems, cell separation, and scaffolding. Specifically, the matrix has been demonstrated to encourage the production of various molecules, such as antibodies, and has also been used for cryopreservation. Cryogels can pose as a bioreactor for the expansion of cell lines, as well as a vehicle for cell separation. Lastly, this matrix has shown excellent potential as a tissue engineered scaffold, encouraging regrowth at numerous damaged tissue sites in vivo. This review will briefly discuss the fabrication of cryogels, with an emphasis placed on their application in various facets of tissue engineering to provide an overview of this unique scaffold’s past and future roles. Statement of Significance Cryogels are unique scaffolds produced through the controlled freezing and thawing of a polymer solution. There is an ever-growing body of literature that demonstrates their applicability in the realm of tissue engineering as extracellular matrix analogue scaffolds; with extensive information having been provided regarding the fabrication, porosity, and mechanical integrity of the scaffolds. Additionally, cryogels have been reviewed with respect to their role in bioseparation and as cellular incubators. This all-inclusive view of the roles that cryogels can play is critical to advancing the technology and expanding its niche within biomaterials and tissue engineering research. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first comprehensive review of cryogel applications in tissue engineering that includes specific looks at their growing roles as extracellular matrix analogues, incubators, and in bioseparation processes.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S1742706117305470

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