The extracellular matrix of most natural tissues comprises various types of cells, including fibroblasts, stem cells, and endothelial cells, which communicate with each other directly or indirectly to regulate matrix production and cell functionality. To engineer multicellular interactions in vitro, co-culture systems have achieved tremendous success achieving a more realistic microenvironment of in vivo metabolism than monoculture system in the past several decades. Recently, the fields of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine have primarily focused on three-dimensional co-culture systems using cellular scaffolds, because of their physical and biological relevance to the extracellular matrix of actual tissues. This review discusses several materials and methods to create co-culture systems, including hydrogels, electrospun fibers, microfluidic devices, and patterning for biomimetic co-culture system and their applications for specific tissue regeneration. Consequently, we believe that culture systems with appropriate physical and biochemical properties should be developed, and direct or indirect cell–cell interactions in the remodeled tissue must be considered to obtain an optimal tissue-specific microenvironment.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Biomedical Engineering