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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014, Article ID 921905, 18 pages
Review Article

Cell Microenvironment Engineering and Monitoring for Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine: The Recent Advances

1Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM) UMR-S 1121, “Biomatériaux et Bioingénierie”, 11 rue Humann, 67085 Strasbourg Cedex, France
2Equipe de Recherche sur les Relations Matrice Extracellulaire-Cellules, Université de Cergy-Pontoise, 2 Avenue Adolphe Chauvin, 95302 Cergy Pontoise, France
3Department of Computer Engineering, Epoka University, Tirana, Albania
4Biomedical Engineering and Department of Mechanical Engineering, American University of Beirut, Beirut 1107 2020, Lebanon
5Center for Biomedical Engineering, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA
6Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA
7Protip SAS, 8 Place de l’Hôpital, 67000, Strasbourg, France

Received 23 April 2014; Accepted 15 June 2014; Published 20 July 2014

Academic Editor: Vasif Hasirci

Copyright © 2014 Julien Barthes et al. 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.


In tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, the conditions in the immediate vicinity of the cells have a direct effect on cells’ behaviour and subsequently on clinical outcomes. Physical, chemical, and biological control of cell microenvironment are of crucial importance for the ability to direct and control cell behaviour in 3-dimensional tissue engineering scaffolds spatially and temporally. In this review, we will focus on the different aspects of cell microenvironment such as surface micro-, nanotopography, extracellular matrix composition and distribution, controlled release of soluble factors, and mechanical stress/strain conditions and how these aspects and their interactions can be used to achieve a higher degree of control over cellular activities. The effect of these parameters on the cellular behaviour within tissue engineering context is discussed and how these parameters are used to develop engineered tissues is elaborated. Also, recent techniques developed for the monitoring of the cell microenvironment in vitro and in vivo are reviewed, together with recent tissue engineering applications where the control of cell microenvironment has been exploited. Cell microenvironment engineering and monitoring are crucial parts of tissue engineering efforts and systems which utilize different components of the cell microenvironment simultaneously can provide more functional engineered tissues in the near future.