Angiogenesis in tissue engineering: breathing life into constructed tissue substitutes

Tissue Eng. 2006 Aug;12(8):2093-104. doi: 10.1089/ten.2006.12.2093.


Long-term function of three-dimensional (3D) tissue constructs depends on adequate vascularization after implantation. Accordingly, research in tissue engineering has focused on the analysis of angiogenesis. For this purpose, 2 sophisticated in vivo models (the chorioallantoic membrane and the dorsal skinfold chamber) have recently been introduced in tissue engineering research, allowing a more detailed analysis of angiogenic dysfunction and engraftment failure. To achieve vascularization of tissue constructs, several approaches are currently under investigation. These include the modification of biomaterial properties of scaffolds and the stimulation of blood vessel development and maturation by different growth factors using slow-release devices through pre-encapsulated microspheres. Moreover, new microvascular networks in tissue substitutes can be engineered by using endothelial cells and stem cells or by creating arteriovenous shunt loops. Nonetheless, the currently used techniques are not sufficient to induce the rapid vascularization necessary for an adequate cellular oxygen supply. Thus, future directions of research should focus on the creation of microvascular networks within 3D tissue constructs in vitro before implantation or by co-stimulation of angiogenesis and parenchymal cell proliferation to engineer the vascularized tissue substitute in situ.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chick Embryo
  • Chorioallantoic Membrane / physiology*
  • Cricetinae
  • Neovascularization, Physiologic*
  • Skin Physiological Phenomena*
  • Tissue Engineering*