Despite the wide-spread use of dendrimers in biomedical applications, their use in the fabrication of tissue engineering scaffolds has been limited. The highly branched, multivalent nature of dendrimers makes them ideal candidates for a variety of tissue engineering applications, including as crosslinking agents, modulators of surface charge and surface chemistry, and as primary components in scaffolds that mimic natural extracellular matrices. Compared to linear polymers, the multiple end groups of dendrimers may potentially offer more control over factors such as cell proliferation rates and biodegradation profiles through systematic variation of generation size, concentration, and end group chemistry. The combination of dendrimers and other traditional scaffold polymers, such as proteins, carbohydrates, and linear synthetic polymers has led to the creation of hybrid scaffolds with new physical, mechanical, and biochemical properties. This review describes examples where dendritic macromolecules have been incorporated into scaffolds for the regeneration of a variety of tissues and cell types and highlights areas where dendrimers have yet to be utilized.
Keywords: Dendrimer, tissue engineering, hydrogel, cell scaffold, dendritic macromolecule, wound repair, biomaterials
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