Table of Contents
Advances in Biomaterials
Volume 2014, Article ID 123070, 12 pages
Review Article

Musculoskeletal Regenerative Engineering: Biomaterials, Structures, and Small Molecules

1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Connecticut Health Center, 263 Farmington Avenue, Farmington, CT 06030, USA
2The Raymond and Beverly Sackler Center for Biomedical, Biological, Engineering and Physical Sciences, University of Connecticut Health Center, 263 Farmington Avenue, Farmington, CT 06030, USA
3Department of Biomedical Engineering, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269, USA

Received 9 February 2014; Accepted 26 May 2014; Published 24 June 2014

Academic Editor: Mario Cannas

Copyright © 2014 Roshan James and Cato T. Laurencin. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Musculoskeletal tissues are critical to the normal functioning of an individual and following damage or degeneration they show extremely limited endogenous regenerative capacity. The future of regenerative medicine is the combination of advanced biomaterials, structures, and cues to re-engineer/guide stem cells to yield the desired organ cells and tissues. Tissue engineering strategies were ideally suited to repair damaged tissues; however, the substitution and regeneration of large tissue volumes and multi-level tissues such as complex organ systems integrated into a single phase require more than optimal combinations of biomaterials and biologics. We highlight bioinspired advancements leading to novel regenerative scaffolds especially for musculoskeletal tissue repair and regeneration. Tissue and organ regeneration relies on the spatial and temporal control of biophysical and biochemical cues, including soluble molecules, cell-cell contacts, cell-extracellular matrix contacts, and physical forces. Strategies that recapitulate the complexity of the local microenvironment of the tissue and the stem cell niche play a crucial role in regulating cell self-renewal and differentiation. Biomaterials and scaffolds based on biomimicry of the native tissue will enable convergence of the advances in materials science, the advances in stem cell science, and our understanding of developmental biology.