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Highly Accessed Review

Vascular tissue engineering: biodegradable scaffold platforms to promote angiogenesis

Janna V Serbo1 and Sharon Gerecht2*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Biomedical Engineering, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA

2 Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Johns Hopkins Physical Sciences - Oncology Center and Institute for NanoBioTechnology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA

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Stem Cell Research & Therapy 2013, 4:8  doi:10.1186/scrt156

Published: 24 January 2013

Abstract

The ability to understand and regulate human vasculature development and differentiation has the potential to benefit patients suffering from a variety of ailments, including cardiovascular disease, peripheral vascular disease, ischemia, and burn wounds. Current clinical treatments for vascular-related diseases commonly use the grafting from patients of autologous vessels, which are limited and often damaged due to disease. Considerable progress is being made through a tissue engineering strategy in the vascular field. Tissue engineering takes a multidisciplinary approach seeking to repair, improve, or replace biological tissue function in a controlled and predictable manner. To address the clinical need to perfuse and repair damaged, ischemic tissue, one approach of vascular engineering aims to understand and promote the growth and differentiation of vascular networks. Vascular tissue engineered constructs enable the close study of vascular network assembly and vessel interactions with the surrounding microenvironment. Scaffold platforms provide a method to control network development through the biophysical regulation of different scaffold properties, such as composition, mechanics, dimensionality, and so forth. Following a short description of vascular physiology and blood vessel biomechanics, the key principles in vascular tissue engineering are discussed. This review focuses on various biodegradable scaffold platforms and demonstrates how they are being used to regulate, promote, and understand angiogenesis and vascular network formation.