VOLUME 33 - NUMBER 6-7 - 2012

Outlines on nanotechnologies applied to bladder tissue engineering

  • Alberti C.
  • Methods, Techniques, Drugs, 234-235
  • Full text PDF

  • Tissue engineering technologies are more and more expanding as consequence of recent developments in the field of biomaterial science and nanotechnology research. An important issue in designing scaffold materials is that of recreating the ECM (extra-cellular matrix) functional features – particularly ECM-derived complex molecule signalling – to mimic its capability of directing cell-growth and neotissue morphogenesis. In this way the nanotechnology may offer intriguing chances, biomaterial nanoscale-based scaffold geometry behaving as nanomechanotransducer complex interacting with different cell nanosize proteins, especially with those of cell surface mechanoreceptors. To fabricate 3D-scaffold complex architectures, endowed with controlled geometry and functional properties, bottom-up approaches, based on molecular self-assembling of small building polymer units, are used, sometimes functionalizing them by incorporation of bioactive peptide sequences such as RDG (arginine – glycine – aspartic acid, a cell-integrin binding domain of fibronectin), whereas the top-down approaches are useful to fabricate micro/nanoscale structures, such as a microvasculature within an existing complex bioarchitecture. Synthetic polymer-based nanofibers, produced by electrospinning process, may be used to create fibrous scaffolds that can facilitate, given their nanostructured geometry and surface roughness, cell adhesion and growth. Also bladder tissue engineering may benefit by nanotechnology advances to achieve a better reliability of the bladder engineered tissue. Particularly, bladder smooth muscle cell adhesion to nanostructured polymeric surfaces is significantly enhanced in comparison with that to conventional biomaterials. Moreover nanostructured surfaces of bladder engineered tissue show a decreased calcium stone production. In a bladder tumor animal model, the dispersion of carbon nanofibers in a polymeric scaffold-based tissue engineered replacement neobladder, appears to inhibit a carcinogenic relapse in bladder prosthetic material. Facing the future, a full success of bladder tissue engineering will mainly depend on the progress of both biomaterial nanotechnologies and stem cell biology research.

  • KEY WORDS: Nanotechnology - Bottom-up, Top-down approaches - Hydrogels - Electrospinning - Stem cells.