The Potential Role of Telocytes for Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine
Despite recent advances in surgery, medicine and anaesthesiology as well as the development of microsurgical tissue transplantation, wear out of body parts remains a problem, and organ shortage does not allow to allocate enough donor organs for patients with vital diseases and conditions. The idea to create spare parts or spare organs from the patients own cells by combining engineering approaches to cellular and molecular medicine for th purpose of Tissue Engineering (TE) was fascinating when popularized in the early 1990ies. However clinically success was limited, mainly because of a lack in rapid vascularization of large scale TE replacement constructs useful for clinical purposes. The idea to utilize cells and cytokines to aid the human organism in gradually restoring lost tissue functions has drawn attention to the wider field of Regenerative Medicine (RM). Stem cells and putative stem cells, such as the recently discovered and meanwhile well described interstitial Telocytes, which are comprised of extremely long and thin prolongations named telopodes, may well become active players in the regenerative process. This article highlights the principles of TE and RM and the potential role of Telocytes with regard to tissue regeneration.