Polymeric nanofibers can be produced using methods such as electrospinning, phase separation, and self-assembly, and the fiber composition, diameter, alignment, degradation, and mechanical properties can be tailored to the intended application. Nanofibers possess unique advantages for tissue engineering. The small diameter closely matches that of extracellular matrix fibers, and the relatively large surface area is beneficial for cell attachment and bioactive factor loading. This review will update the reader on the aspects of nanofiber fabrication and characterization important to tissue engineering, including control of porous structure, cell infiltration, and fiber degradation. Bioactive factor loading will be discussed with specific relevance to tissue engineering. Finally, applications of polymeric nanofibers in the fields of bone, cartilage, ligament and tendon, cardiovascular, and neural tissue engineering will be reviewed.
© Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.