Natural extracellular matrix for cellular and tissue biomanufacturing

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Department of Biomedical Engineering


Natural extracellular matrices (ECM) derived from native tissues or cultured cells are extensively employed to fabricate biocompatible scaffolds or living tissue constructs for the application in cellular and tissue engineering. The composition and structure of ECM are not only heterogeneous, but also tissue or cell specific. Recapitulating the unique cell or tissue niche, ECM-based products are promising to quickly integrate with host tissues and accelerate restoration of tissue function. A variety of natural ECM-based scaffolds and tissue constructs have been biomanufactured using different approaches. Native tissue derived ECM is typically grounded into powders that can be further processed into hybrid composites in the form of hydrogels, foams, nanofibers, and 3D-printed complex constructs. Cell-derived ECM follows different biomanufacturing methods. Usually, cells are seeded on a scaffold to deposit ECM resulting in ECM-ornamented materials. The employment of resolvable scaffolds and cell sheet engineering technique enables production of complex 3D constructs exclusively composed of ECM with/without cells. In order to enhance mechanical strength, in vivo stability, and biological performance of ECM-based products, cross-linking reagents or bioactive factors are often used for modification. The major focus of this article is to provide an overview of current biomanufacturing approaches that utilize either native tissue or cell-derived natural ECM in the field of cellular and tissue engineering. Furthermore, the existing challenges for translational application of ECM-based products and the potential resolutions are discussed.

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ACS Publications