Title{Inherently Bio-Active Scaffolds: Intelligent Constructs to Model the Stem Cell Niche}
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsDi Nardo, P, Minieri, M, Tirella, A, Forte, G, Ahluwalia, A
EditorBoccaccini, AR, Harding, SE
Book TitleMyocardial Tissue Engineering
Series TitleStudies in Mechanobiology, Tissue Engineering and Biomaterials
PublisherSpringer Berlin Heidelberg
CityBerlin, Heidelberg
ISBN Number978-3-642-18055-2

The oft-abused phrase “genes load the gun, environment pulls the trigger” can be applied to stem cells and stem cell niches as well as to cell–material interfaces. Much is known about cell–material interaction in general, perhaps a little less about how these interactions condition cell phenotype. With the increasing interest in stem cells and, in particular, their applications in tissue regeneration, the regulation of the stem cell microenvironment through modulation of intuitive or smart materials and structures, or what we term IBAS (Inherently Bio-Active Scaffolds) is poised to become a major field of research. Here, we discuss how cardiac regeneration strategies have undergone a gradual shift from the emphasis on biochemical signals and basic biology to one in which the material or scaffold plays a major role in establishing an equilibrium state. From being a constant battle or tug-of-war between the cells and synthetic environments, we conceive IBAS as intuitively responding to the cell’s requirements to instate a sort of equilibrium in the system.