Tissue engineering (TE) is an interdisciplinary field integrating engineering , material science and medical biology that aims to develop biological substitutes to repair, replace, retain, or enhance tissue and organ-level functions.

Current TE methods face obstacle including a lack of appropriate biomaterials, ineffective cell growth and lack of techniques for capturing appropriate physiological architectures as well as the unstable and insufficient production of growth factors to stimulate cell communication and proper response.

Also, the inability to control cellular functions and their various properties (biological, mechanical, electrochemical and others) and issues of biomolecular detection and biosensors, all add to the current limitations in this field.

Nanoparticles

Nanoparticles are at the forefront of nanotechnology , their distinctive size-dependent properties have shown promise in overcoming many of the obstacles faced by TE today. Major progress in the use of nanoparticles over the last two, the full potential of the applications of nanoparticles in solving TE problems have yet to be realized.

This review presents an overview of the diverse applications of various types of nanoparticles in TE applications and challenges that need to be overcome for nanotechnology to reach its full potential.

Tissue Engineering

Tissue engineering (TE) is the study of the growth of new tissues and organs, starting from a base of cells and scaffolds. The scaffolds are used as three-dimensional (3D) structures in which cells grow, proliferate and differentiate into various cell types.

Scaffolds

Growth factors are introduced into the scaffolds to direct cell behavior towards any desired process where the eventual goal is to produce fully functional organs or tissues capable of growth and regeneration and suitable for implantation. Transcribing these ideas into reality seems like an uphill task.

Nanoparticles are characterized by their nanoscale dimension, enabling them to develop critical physical and chemical characteristics that enhance their performance and therefore make them beneficial for a wide range of applications.

Applications of nanoparticles in TE Nanoparticles have been used to serve various functions in TE, ranging from enhancement of biological, electrical and mechanical properties to gene delivery, DNA transfection, viral transduction and patterning of cells, to facilitate the growth of various types of tissues to molecular detection and biosensing.

Biomedical Applications

Nanoparticles exhibit superior biocompatibility and well-established strategies for surface modification, which have made them highly effective in numerous biomedical applications.

The author believes that in the near future, we could visualize the use of smart nanoparticles that can engage and direct stem cells to preferred sites in the body and dictate the formation of tissues in vivo.