Elastin-based biomaterials and mesenchymal stem cells
Elastin is the dominant mammalian elastic protein found in soft tissue. Elastin-based biomaterials have the potential to repair elastic tissues by improving local elasticity and providing appropriate cellular interactions and signaling. Studies that combine these biomaterials with mesenchymal stem cells have demonstrated their capacity to also regenerate non-elastic tissue. Mesenchymal stem cell differentiation can be controlled by their immediate environment, and their sensitivity to elasticity makes them an ideal candidate for combining with elastin-based biomaterials. With the growing accessibility of the elastin precursor, tropoelastin, and elastin-derived materials, the amount of research interest in combining these two fields has increased and, subsequently, is leading to the realization of a potentially new strategy for regenerative medicine.