The use of auxetic materials in tissue engineering
A number of biological tissues have been reported as behaving in an auxetic manner, defined by a negative Poisson's ratio. This describes the deformation of tissue which expands in the axial and the transverse directions simultaneously while under uniaxial tension; and contracts axially and transversely upon uniaxial compression. The discovery of auxetic behaviour within biological tissues has implications for the recreation of the auxetic loading environment within tissue engineering. Tissue engineers strive to recreate the natural properties of biological tissue and in order to recreate the unique loading environment of cells from auxetic tissue, an auxetic scaffold is required. A number of studies have used a variety of auxetic scaffolds within tissue engineering. Investigation into the effect of auxetic micro-environments created by auxetic scaffolds on cellular behaviour has demonstrated an increased cellular proliferation and enhanced differentiation. Here, we discuss studies which have identified auxetic behaviour within biological tissues, and where cells have been cultured within auxetic scaffolds, bringing together current knowledge of the potential use of auxetic materials in tissue engineering applications and biomedical devices.