Stephen F. Badylak, DVM, PhD, MD
Professor at Department of Surgery
Deputy Director of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine
University of Pittsburgh
The Extracellular Matrix (ECM) represents the secreted product of the resident cells of every tissue and organ; and thus represents the natural microenvironmental niche for all cells, including stem cells. The structural and physical properties of the ECM largely account for the mechanical properties of tissues while the functional properties are diverse and include such as activities as angiogenesis, stem cell recruitment, proliferation, and differentiation, and regulation of the innate immune response, among others. The concept of “dynamic reciprocity” aptly describes the structure-function relationship of the cell matrix interaction. Preclinical evidence of ECM-induced site-appropriate, functional tissue remodeling is abundant and supports the robust involvement of endogenous stem cells and macrophages. In addition, there is a significant role for mechanical loading in determining cell fate and functional tissue capabilities. Clinical evidence from human studies reinforces the concepts developed in in vitro studies and preclinical animal work. A brief discussion of next generation inductive biomaterials will be included in this presentation.
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