About this Research Topic
Microphysiological systems have been developed rapidly, from simple organoids and 3-D bioprinted tissue constructs to sophisticated organ-on-a-chip systems because they can potentially provide human organ-like in vitro models to facilitate preclinical investigation and expedite drug development for human disease. To establish the primary function of the human organ in the microphysiological system, it is required to closely resemble the key anatomical and physiological characteristics of human organs in the system. As such, it is critical to engineer a biomimetic microenvironment where the cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions are controlled in a 3D physiologically relevant system.
The in vivo organ microenvironment is an integrative and dynamic system, and displays physical (matrix stiffness and micro-/nanostructures), mechanical (fluidic shear stress and mechanical stretch), structural (coordinated co-culture of multiple cell types) and biological (growth factors and cytokines) characteristics. These microenvironmental characteristics have been shown to profoundly influence numerous developmental, physiological, and pathological processes in vivo, and thus have been recreated to regulate the phenotype and function of cells in vitro. Yet, the mechanistic understanding of these microenvironmental characteristics is still limited. Moreover, the implementation of these characteristics, in particular in an integrative way in microphysiological systems, is highly desirable.
The aim of the current Research Topic is to cover recent and novel research in our understanding of the microenvironmental characteristics and execution of these characteristics when engineering microphysiological systems. Areas to be covered in this Research Topic may include, but are not limited to:
• Dissection of the roles of matrix stiffness and micro-/nanostructures in cell regulation
• Delineation of the effects of mechanical stimuli at the cell and tissue levels
• Advancement in novel hydrogel biomaterials for 3D cell culture
• Coordination of cell-cell interactions in 3D, i.e. biomimetic co-culture platforms
• Integration of multiple microenvironmental characteristics in a single platform towards the microphysiological system
• Development of novel microphysiological systems
Dr. Yue Shao has filed a patent, which is related to the application of microengineered systems to generate in vitro models for early human embryonic development using pluripotent stem cells. All other Topic Editors declare no competing interests with regard to the Research Topic subject.
Keywords: Microphysiological Systems, microenvironment, organoids, 3-D bioprinting, organ-on-a-chip
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