Microscale Technologies for Engineering Complex Tissue Structures
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Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016. All right reserved. Engineered tissue scaffolds aim to reproduce the body's architectural and geometrical intricacies, including vital cell-cell interactions. These scaffolds serve as synthetic extracellular matrices that organize the embedded cells into a threedimensional (3D) architecture and present them with stimuli for their growth and maturation. Tissue engineering techniques have been applied to many types of tissues; however, numerous challenges regarding their development still remain. These challenges include our inability to generate a functional vasculature that can supply the tissue with nutrients and oxygen and the inability to mimic the complex cell-microenvironmental interactions that regulate the formation of a functional tissue. This chapter focuses on the most recent developments in the fi eld of microfabrication technologies to design vascularized tissue constructs. In particular, we discuss emerging bottom-up approaches to design complex macroscale structures, examine their current limitations, and conclude with future directions in designing more complex tissue architecture.