Extracellular Matrix-Based Biohybrid Materials for Engineering Compliant, Matrix-Dense Tissues

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An ideal tissue engineering scaffold should not only promote, but take an active role in, constructive remodeling and formation of site appropriate tissue. Extracellular matrix (ECM)-derived proteins provide unmatched cellular recognition, and therefore influence cellular response towards predicted remodeling behaviors. Materials built with only these proteins, however, can degrade rapidly or begin too weak to substitute for compliant, matrix-dense tissues. The focus of this Progress Report is on biohybrid materials that incorporate polymer components with ECM-derived proteins, to produce a substrate with desired mechanical and degradation properties, as well as actively guide tissue remodeling. Materials are described through four fabrication methods: 1) polymer and ECM-protein fibers woven together, 2) polymer and ECM proteins combined in a bilayer, 3) cell-built ECM on polymer scaffold, and 4) ECM proteins and polymers combined in a single hydrogel. Scaffolds from each fabrication method can achieve characteristics suitable for different types of tissue. In vivo testing has shown progressive remodeling in injury models, and suggests ECM-based biohybrid materials promote a prohealing immune response over single component alternatives. The prohealing immune response is associated with lasting success and long term host maintenance of the implant.

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