Porous scaffold design for tissue engineering

Nat Mater. 2005 Jul;4(7):518-24. doi: 10.1038/nmat1421.


A paradigm shift is taking place in medicine from using synthetic implants and tissue grafts to a tissue engineering approach that uses degradable porous material scaffolds integrated with biological cells or molecules to regenerate tissues. This new paradigm requires scaffolds that balance temporary mechanical function with mass transport to aid biological delivery and tissue regeneration. Little is known quantitatively about this balance as early scaffolds were not fabricated with precise porous architecture. Recent advances in both computational topology design (CTD) and solid free-form fabrication (SFF) have made it possible to create scaffolds with controlled architecture. This paper reviews the integration of CTD with SFF to build designer tissue-engineering scaffolds. It also details the mechanical properties and tissue regeneration achieved using designer scaffolds. Finally, future directions are suggested for using designer scaffolds with in vivo experimentation to optimize tissue-engineering treatments, and coupling designer scaffolds with cell printing to create designer material/biofactor hybrids.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biocompatible Materials / chemical synthesis
  • Biocompatible Materials / chemistry*
  • Bioprosthesis*
  • Cell Culture Techniques / instrumentation
  • Cell Culture Techniques / methods*
  • Computer-Aided Design*
  • Equipment Failure Analysis / methods
  • Extracellular Matrix / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Materials Testing
  • Porosity
  • Prosthesis Design / methods*
  • Tissue Engineering / instrumentation
  • Tissue Engineering / methods*


  • Biocompatible Materials