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Growth factor delivery using extracellular matrix-mimicking substrates for musculoskeletal tissue engineering and repair.


Therapeutic approaches for musculoskeletal tissue regeneration commonly employ growth factors (GFs) to influence neighboring cells and promote migration, proliferation, or differentiation. Despite promising results in preclinical models, the use of inductive biomacromolecules has achieved limited success in translation to the clinic. The field has yet to sufficiently overcome substantial hurdles such as poor spatiotemporal control and supraphysiological dosages, which commonly result in detrimental side effects. Physiological presentation and retention of biomacromolecules is regulated by the extracellular matrix (ECM), which acts as a reservoir for GFs via electrostatic interactions. Advances in the manipulation of extracellular proteins, decellularized tissues, and synthetic ECM-mimetic applications across a range of biomaterials have increased the ability to direct the presentation of GFs. Successful application of biomaterial technologies utilizing ECM mimetics increases tissue regeneration without the reliance on supraphysiological doses of inductive biomacromolecules. This review describes recent strategies to manage GF presentation using ECM-mimetic substrates for the regeneration of bone, cartilage, and muscle.

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