Multifunctional Smart Materials for Tissue Engineering
The combination of natural materials, synthetic polymers and inorganic materials generates multifunctional smart materials that are useful for tissue engineering. Multifunctional smart materials with unique capabilities are responsive to various stimuli, such as temperature, pH, ionic strength and magnetism. Furthermore, they exhibit biocompatibility, beneficial mechanical properties and degradability as three-dimensional scaffolds for tissue restoration. Here, the strategies for developing and constructing multifunctional materials ranging from initial stage “biomimetic materials or cell friendly materials” to reach the present stage of “multifunctional and smart materials” are presented. The applications of multifunctional smart materials in tissue engineering, including bone engineering, articular cartilage engineering, and soft skin tissue engineering, are also summarized. Further research to design and fabricate scaffolds with multiple functions and responsiveness to multiple stimuli may be expected in the future for tissue engineering.