Microcarriers designed for cell culture and tissue engineering of bone

Tissue Eng Part B Rev. 2013 Apr;19(2):172-90. doi: 10.1089/ten.TEB.2012.0432. Epub 2013 Jan 17.


Microspherical particulates have been an attractive form of biomaterials that find usefulness in cell delivery and tissue engineering. A variety of compositions, including bioactive ceramics, degradable polymers, and their composites, have been developed into a microsphere form and have demonstrated the potential to fill defective bone and to populate tissue cells on curved matrices. To enhance the capacity of cell delivery, the conventional solid form of spheres is engineered to have either a porous structure to hold cells or a thin shell to in-situ encapsulate cells within the structure. Microcarriers can also be a potential reservoir system of bioactive molecules that have therapeutic effects in regulating cell behaviors. Due to their specific form, advanced technologies to culture cell-loaded microcarriers are required, such as simple agitation or shaking, spinner flask, and rotating chamber system. Here, we review systematically, from material design to culture technology, the microspherical carriers used for the delivery of cells and tissue engineering, particularly of bone.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bioreactors
  • Bone and Bones / physiology*
  • Cell Culture Techniques / methods*
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Humans
  • Microspheres*
  • Tissue Engineering / methods*