Exploiting cell-mediated contraction and adhesion to structure tissues in vitro

Uchena N G Wudebwe, Alistair Bannerman, Pola Goldberg-Oppenheimer, Jennifer Z Paxton, Richard L Williams, Liam M Grover

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Progress in tissue engineering is now impacting beyond the field of regenerative medicine. Engineered tissues are now used as tools to evaluate the toxicity of compounds or even to enable the modelling of disease. While many of the materials that are used to facilitate tissue growth are designed to enable cell attachment, many researchers consider that the contraction and modification of these matrices by attached cells is not desirable and take measures to prevent this from occurring. Where substantial alignment of the molecules within tissues, however, is a feature of structure the process of contraction can be exploited to guide new matrix deposition. In this paper, we will demonstrate how we have used the cell contraction process to generate tissues with high levels of organization. The tissues that have been grown in the laboratory have been characterized using a suite of analytical techniques to demonstrate significant levels of matrix organization and mechanical behaviour analogous to natural tissues. This paper provides an overview of research that has been undertaken to determine how tissues have been grown in vitro with structuring from the molecular, right through to the macroscopic level.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1661
Early online date5 Feb 2015
Publication statusPublished - 5 Feb 2015


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