Naturally and synthetic smart composite biomaterials for tissue regeneration☆

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The development of smart biomaterials for tissue regeneration has become the focus of intense research interest. More opportunities are available by the composite approach of combining the biomaterials in the form of biopolymers and/or bioceramics either synthetic or natural. Strategies to provide smart capabilities to the composite biomaterials primarily seek to achieve matrices that are instructive/inductive to cells, or that stimulate/trigger target cell responses that are crucial in the tissue regeneration processes. Here, we review in-depth, recent developments concerning smart composite biomaterials available for delivery systems of biofactors and cells and scaffolding matrices in tissue engineering. Smart composite designs are possible by modulating the bulk and surface properties that mimic the native tissues, either in chemical (extracellular matrix molecules) or in physical properties (e.g. stiffness), or by introducing external therapeutic molecules (drugs, proteins and genes) within the structure in a way that allows sustainable and controllable delivery, even time-dependent and sequential delivery of multiple biofactors. Responsiveness to internal or external stimuli, including pH, temperature, ionic strength, and magnetism, is another promising means to improve the multifunctionality in smart scaffolds with on-demand delivery potential. These approaches will provide the next-generation platforms for designing three-dimensional matrices and delivery systems for tissue regenerative applications.

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