Microtechnology for Mimicking In Vivo Tissue Environment
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- Sung, J.H. & Shuler, M.L. Ann Biomed Eng (2012) 40: 1289. doi:10.1007/s10439-011-0491-2
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Microtechnology provides a new approach for reproducing the in vivo environment in vitro. Mimicking the microenvironment of the natural tissues allows cultured cells to behave in a more authentic manner, and gives researchers more realistic platforms to study biological systems. In this review article, we discuss the physiochemical aspects of in vivo cellular microenvironment, and relevant technologies that can be used to mimic those aspects. Secondly we identify the core methods used in microtechnology for biomedical applications. Finally we examine the recent application areas of microtechnology, with a focus on reproducing the functions of specific organs, or whole-body response such as homeostasis or metabolism-dependent toxicity of drugs. These new technologies enable researchers to ask and answer questions in a manner that has not been possible with conventional, macroscale technologies.