alexa Perspectives on Strategies to Direct Elastic Matrix Assembly

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Perspectives on Strategies to Direct Elastic Matrix Assembly

Progress in tissue engineering clinically useful replacements for soft, elastic tissues is presently constrained by poor elastogenicity of most adult cell types, and difficulties in replicating the biocomplexity of elastic matrix assembly that occurs primarily in the fetal and neonatal stages. With recent progress in being able to enhance elastin precursor (tropoelastin) synthesis by adult cell types, the present emphasis in the field has shifted to developing strategies to address the other, equally important, if not more critical issues such as extremely poor recruitment and crosslinking of tropoelastin, and the need to direct the organization of crosslinked elastin deposits into matrix structures (e.g., aligned, spatially-oriented fibers) so as to be able to replicate the mechanical anisotropy of native tissues. This editorial provides insight into potential strategies to address these challenges and the key factors that are likely to influence their outcomes.

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