Modeling angiogenesis with micro- and nanotechnology
Angiogenesis plays an important role not only in the growth and regeneration of tissues in humans but also in pathological conditions such as inflammation, degenerative disease and the formation of tumors. Angiogenesis is also vital in thick engineered tissues and constructs, such as those for the heart and bone, as these can face difficulties in successful implantation if they are insufficiently vascularized or unable to connect to the host vasculature. Considerable research has been carried out on angiogenic processes using a variety of approaches. Pathological angiogenesis has been analyzed at the cellular level through investigation of cell migration and interactions, modeling tissue level interactions between engineered blood vessels and whole organs, and elucidating signaling pathways involved in different angiogenic stimuli. Approaches to regenerative angiogenesis in ischemic tissues or wound repair focus on the vascularization of tissues, which can be broadly classified into two categories: scaffolds to direct and facilitate tissue growth and targeted delivery of genes, cells, growth factors or drugs that promote the regeneration. With technological advancement, models have been designed and fabricated to recapitulate the innate microenvironment. Moreover, engineered constructs provide not only a scaffold for tissue ingrowth but a reservoir of agents that can be controllably released for therapeutic purposes. This review summarizes the current approaches for modeling pathological and regenerative angiogenesis in the context of micro-/nanotechnology and seeks to bridge these two seemingly distant aspects of angiogenesis. The ultimate aim is to provide insights and advances from various models in the realm of angiogenesis studies that can be applied to clinical situations.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Lab on a Chip Recent Review Articles