Biomaterials and Culture Technologies for Regenerative Therapy of Liver Tissue

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Regenerative approach has emerged to substitute the current extracorporeal technologies for the treatment of diseased and damaged liver tissue. This is based on the use of biomaterials that modulate the responses of hepatic cells through the unique matrix properties tuned to recapitulate regenerative functions. Cells in liver preserve their phenotype or differentiate through the interactions with extracellular matrix molecules. Therefore, the intrinsic properties of the engineered biomaterials, such as stiffness and surface topography, need to be tailored to induce appropriate cellular functions. The matrix physical stimuli can be combined with biochemical cues, such as immobilized functional groups or the delivered actions of signaling molecules. Furthermore, the external modulation of cells, through cocultures with nonparenchymal cells (e.g., endothelial cells) that can signal bioactive molecules, is another promising avenue to regenerate liver tissue. This review disseminates the recent approaches of regenerating liver tissue, with a focus on the development of biomaterials and the related culture technologies.The advances of biomaterials and culture technologies promise future therapies for liver regeneration. Physical (stiffness and nano/microtopology) and chemical cues (surface-tethered molecules and delivered growth factors) provided by biomaterials and the culture conditions optimized through flow perfusion, dynamic chamber, and cocultures mimic the in vivo liver microenvironments for this regenerative approach.

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