Computational modeling has been increasingly applied to the field of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Where in early days computational models were used to better understand the biomechanical requirements of targeted tissues to be regenerated, recently, more and more models are formulated to combine such biomechanical requirements with cell fate predictions to aid in the design of functional three-dimensional scaffolds. In this review, we highlight how computational modeling has been used to understand the mechanisms behind tissue formation and can be used for more rational and biomimetic scaffold-based tissue regeneration strategies. With a particular focus on musculoskeletal tissues, we discuss recent models attempting to predict cell activity in relation to specific mechanical and physical stimuli that can be applied to them through porous three-dimensional scaffolds. In doing so, we review the most common scaffold fabrication methods, with a critical view on those technologies that offer better properties to be more easily combined with computational modeling. Finally, we discuss how modeling, and in particular finite element analysis, can be used to optimize the design of scaffolds for skeletal tissue regeneration.
- Journal Article