Hong Nam Kima, Alex Jiaob, Nathaniel S. Hwangc, Min Sung Kima, Do-Hyun Kanga, Deok-Ho Kimb, Kahp-Yang Suha, d,*
a Division of WCU Multiscale Mechanical Design, School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Seoul National University, Seoul 151-742, Korea
b Department of Bioengineering, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA
c School of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Seoul National University, Seoul 151-742, Korea
d Institute of Biological Engineering, Seoul National University, Seoul 151-742, Korea
*Corresponding author : Kahp-Yang Suh
Human tissues are intricate ensembles of multiple cell types embedded in complex and well-defined structures of the extracellular matrix (ECM). The organization of ECM is frequently hierarchical from nano to macro, with many proteins forming large scale structures with feature sizes up to several hundred microns. Inspired from these natural designs of ECM, nanotopography-guided approaches have been increasingly investigated for the last several decades. Results demonstrate that the nanotopography itself can activate tissue-specific function in vitro as well as promote tissue regeneration in vivo upon transplantation. In this review, we provide an extensive analysis of recent efforts to mimic functional nanostructures in vitro for improved tissue engineering and regeneration of injured and damaged tissues. We first characterize the role of various nanostructures in human tissues with respect to each tissue-specific function. Then, we describe various fabrication methods in terms of patterning principles and material characteristics. Finally, we summarize the applications of nanotopography to various tissues, which are classified into four types depending on their functions: protective, mechano-sensitive, electro-active, and shear stress-sensitive tissues. Some limitations and future challenges are briefly discussed at the end.