WEB Thermoresponsive Polymer Coatings as a Valuable Tool in Tissue Engineering
Cell sheet engineering as a scaffold-free approach towards in vitro engineered tissue represents a milestone in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.  In order to fabricate and harvest confluent cell sheets, functional polymer coatings on cell culture substrates are employed, that allow for cell adhesion, proliferation, and cell sheet detachment triggered by a physical stimulus.[2-4]
When thermoresponsive polymers are employed as functional coatings, cell detachment can be triggered thermally by a decrease in temperature. This induces a change in surface properties and thus facilitates the relase of confluent cell sheets with their conserved extracellular matrix in a non-destructive manner in contrast to conventional enzyme-based cell harvesting methods. Confluent cell sheets of human endothelial cells (HUVEC), human aortic smooth muscle cells (HAoSMC), human dermal fibroblasts, human hepatocytes (HepaRGTM) and others are easily accessible with these coated surfaces and allow us to create human artifical tissue models thereof. Current scaffold-free approaches focus on the engineering of three-layered blood vessel constructs for subsequent maturation in a tissue bioreactor. Moreover, the cell sheet technology is combined with stereolithography-based 3D-printing of tissue scaffolds in order to improve cell seeding efficiency and maturation of the envisioned human 3D-tissue models for basic research.
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