Microtechnologies in the Fabrication of Fibers for Tissue Engineering
Engineering tissues and organs for implantation in the human body or research require the fabrication of constructs that reproduce a physiological environment. Moreover, the construction of complex and sizable three-dimensional tissues requires a precise control over cell distribution and an effective vasculature network to supply oxygen and nutrients, and remove waste. Fiber-based tissue engineering that forms 3D structures using fibers can address many of these challenges, but depends on the quality of the fibers. Recent progresses in microtechnologies have enabled researchers to fabricate biocompatible fibers with advanced biochemical and physical properties, including cell-laden fibers that are pre-seeded with cells. In this chapter, we discuss fiber fabrication techniques including co-axial flow spinning, wetspinning, meltspinning, and electrospinning, which have leveraged microtechnologies to improve their performance. We compare the properties of the fibers fabricated with these methods and discuss their strengths and weaknesses in the context of tissue engineering.