Transplantation of tissues and organs is currently the only available treatment for patients with end-stage diseases. However, its feasibility is limited by the chronic shortage of suitable donors, the need for life-long immunosuppression, and by socioeconomical and religious concerns. Recently, tissue engineering has garnered interest as a means to generate cell-seeded three-dimensional scaffolds that could replace diseased organs without requiring immunosuppression. Using a regenerative approach, scaffolds made by synthetic, nonimmunogenic, and biocompatible materials have been developed and successfully clinically implanted. This strategy, based on a viable and ready-to-use bioengineered scaffold, able to promote novel tissue formation, favoring cell adhesion and proliferation, could become a reliable alternative to allotransplatation in the next future. In this article, tissue-engineered synthetic substitutes for tubular organs (such as trachea, esophagus, bile ducts, and bowel) are reviewed, including a discussion on their morphological and functional properties.
- in vitro and in vivo evaluation
- organs and tissues
- synthetic biomaterials
- tissue engineering