Methods of Monitoring Cell Fate and Tissue Growth in Three-Dimensional Scaffold-Based Strategies for In Vitro Tissue Engineering

Anne M. Leferink*, Clemens A. van Blitterswijk, Lorenzo Moroni

*Corresponding author for this work

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In the field of tissue engineering, there is a need for methods that allow assessing the performance of tissue-engineered constructs noninvasively in vitro and in vivo. To date, histological analysis is the golden standard to retrieve information on tissue growth, cellular distribution, and cell fate on tissue-engineered constructs after in vitro cell culture or on explanted specimens after in vivo applications. Yet, many advances have been made to optimize imaging techniques for monitoring tissue-engineered constructs with a sub-mm or mu m resolution. Many imaging modalities have first been developed for clinical applications, in which a high penetration depth has been often more important than lateral resolution. In this study, we have reviewed the current state of the art in several imaging approaches that have shown to be promising in monitoring cell fate and tissue growth upon in vitro culture. Depending on the aimed tissue type and scaffold properties, some imaging methods are more applicable than others. Optical methods are mostly suited for transparent materials such as hydrogels, whereas magnetic resonance-based methods are mostly applied to obtain contrast between hard and soft tissues regardless of their transparency. Overall, this review shows that the field of imaging in scaffold-based tissue engineering is developing at a fast pace and has the potential to overcome the limitations of destructive endpoint analysis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-283
JournalTissue Engineering
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2016

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