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Nanofibers and their applications in tissue engineering

Authors Rajesh Vasita, Dhirendra S Katti

Published 15 March 2006 Volume 2006:1(1) Pages 15—30

Rajesh Vasita, Dhirendra S Katti

Department of Biological Sciences and Bioengineering, Indian Institute of Technology – Kanpur, Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India

Abstract: Developing scaffolds that mimic the architecture of tissue at the nanoscale is one of the major challenges in the field of tissue engineering. The development of nanofibers has greatly enhanced the scope for fabricating scaffolds that can potentially meet this challenge. Currently, there are three techniques available for the synthesis of nanofibers: electrospinning, self-assembly, and phase separation. Of these techniques, electrospinning is the most widely studied technique and has also demonstrated the most promising results in terms of tissue engineering applications. The availability of a wide range of natural and synthetic biomaterials has broadened the scope for development of nanofibrous scaffolds, especially using the electrospinning technique. The three dimensional synthetic biodegradable scaffolds designed using nanofibers serve as an excellent framework for cell adhesion, proliferation, and differentiation. Therefore, nanofibers, irrespective of their method of synthesis, have been used as scaffolds for musculoskeletal tissue engineering (including bone, cartilage, ligament, and skeletal muscle), skin tissue engineering, vascular tissue engineering, neural tissue engineering, and as carriers for the controlled delivery of drugs, proteins, and DNA. This review summarizes the currently available techniques for nanofiber synthesis and discusses the use of nanofibers in tissue engineering and drug delivery applications.

Keywords: electrospinning, phase separation, self-assembly, nanofiber, biomaterial, tissue engineering, scaffold, drug delivery