Biohybrid artificial organs encompass all devices capable of substituting for an organ or tissue function and are fabricated from both synthetic materials and living cells. The viability of engineered tissue could be related to the viability of implanted cells. The system of viability assay for mammalian cell culture can be applied to the determination of cell viability for engineered tissue. This review explores various methods of cell viability assay which can be applied to the viability evaluation of engineered tissue. The major criteria employed in viability assays include survival and growth in tissue culture, functional assay, metabolite incorporation, structural altercation, and membrane integrity. Each viability assay method is based on different definitions of cell viability, and has inherent advantages and disadvantages. In order to be able to assess the viability of cells with one assay method, it is desirable to compare the viability measurements from various assays derived from different criteria.
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