Tissue engineering relies on the possibility to engineer cell microenvironments by means of bioactive materials, biochemical and physical stimuli in order to guide cell behaviour and to regenerate damaged tissue. Despite the relevance of glycan epitopes as signaling molecules, and the recent advances in glycomics, their use as biomolecular cues at the interface between materials and cells for the controlled stimulation of adhesion and differentiation processes for regenerative medicine applications is still limited. In this concept article we will briefly outline the basis and the impact on health and economics of regenerative medicine, together with the recent applications of the glycocode in tissue regeneration approaches.
Keywords: biomaterials; carbohydrates; extracellular matrix; glycoscience; regenerative medicine.
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