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Growing Tissues in Real and Simulated Microgravity: New Methods for Tissue Engineering


Bauer,  Johann
Scientific Service Groups, Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Grimm, D., Wehland, M., Pietsch, J., Aleshcheva, G., Wise, P., van Loon, J., et al. (2014). Growing Tissues in Real and Simulated Microgravity: New Methods for Tissue Engineering. TISSUE ENGINEERING PART B-REVIEWS, 20(6), 555-566. doi:10.1089/ten.teb.2013.0704.

Tissue engineering in simulated (s-) and real microgravity (r-mu g) is currently a topic in Space medicine contributing to biomedical sciences and their applications on Earth. The principal aim of this review is to highlight the advances and accomplishments in the field of tissue engineering that could be achieved by culturing cells in Space or by devices created to simulate microgravity on Earth. Understanding the biology of three-dimensional (3D) multicellular structures is very important for a more complete appreciation of in vivo tissue function and advancing in vitro tissue engineering efforts. Various cells exposed to r-mu g in Space or to s-mu g created by a random positioning machine, a 2D-clinostat, or a rotating wall vessel bioreactor grew in the form of 3D tissues. Hence, these methods represent a new strategy for tissue engineering of a variety of tissues, such as regenerated cartilage, artificial vessel constructs, and other organ tissues as well as multicellular cancer spheroids. These aggregates are used to study molecular mechanisms involved in angiogenesis, cancer development, and biology and for pharmacological testing of, for example, chemotherapeutic drugs or inhibitors of neoangiogenesis. Moreover, they are useful for studying multicellular responses in toxicology and radiation biology, or for performing coculture experiments. The future will show whether these tissue-engineered constructs can be used for medical transplantations. Unveiling the mechanisms of microgravity-dependent molecular and cellular changes is an up-to-date requirement for improving Space medicine and developing new treatment strategies that can be translated to in vivo models while reducing the use of laboratory animals.