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Nano-scaffolds for the Design of Layered Cellular Architectures

P. Rajagopalan, C.J. Shen, F. Berthiaume, M. Toner and M.L. Yarmush
Lehigh University, US

nano-scaffolds, layered cell constructs, polyelectrolytes

The design of in vitro multi-layered cellular architectures that resemble the stratified, lattice-like structure in tissues poses a significant challenge for tissue engineering. There is currently no generally applicable methodology to design multi-layered cellular constructs that mimic the structure of tissues in vivo. We report a novel and generalizable approach to create multi-layered cellular constructs that addresses these issues. These in vitro constructs are comprised of alternating layers of cells and nano-scale biocompatible polyelectrolyte (PE) scaffolds. We apply this methodology to address two specific problems in hepatic tissue engineering: the design of in vitro liver sinusoidal structures and the critical need to increase viable cell mass in extracorporeal liver-assist devices. This approach can, in principle, be used to design layered cellular constructs of any tissue type, and therefore has wide applications in tissue engineering, bioreactor devices, and in drug delivery.

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