Bioreactor design for tendon/ligament engineering
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Tendon and ligament injury is a worldwide health problem, but the treatment options remain limited. Tendon and ligament engineering might provide an alternative tissue source for the surgical replacement of injured tendon. A bioreactor provides a controllable environment enabling the systematic study of specific biological, biochemical, and biomechanical requirements to design and manufacture engineered tendon/ligament tissue. Furthermore, the tendon/ligament bioreactor system can provide a suitable culture environment, which mimics the dynamics of the in vivo environment for tendon/ligament maturation. For clinical settings, bioreactors also have the advantages of less-contamination risk, high reproducibility of cell propagation by minimizing manual operation, and a consistent end product. In this review, we identify the key components, design preferences, and criteria that are required for the development of an ideal bioreactor for engineering tendons and ligaments.
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