Construction of biomaterials with the ability to guide cell function is a topic of high interest in biomaterial development. One approach is using components native to the ECM of the target tissue to generate in vitro a microenvironment that can also elicit specific responses in cells and tissues--an artificial ECM (aECM). The focus is on collagen as the basic material, which can be modified using a number of different glycoproteins, proteoglycans and glycosaminoglycans. Preparation, immobilization and the biochemical characteristics of such aECM are discussed, as well as the in vitro and in vivo response of cells and tissues, illustrating the potential of such matrices to direct cell fate.
Keywords: artificial extracellular matrix; bioactive coatings; collagen; immobilization; implants; surface functionalization.