Bottom-up tissue engineering technologies address two of the main limitations of top-down tissue engineering approaches: the control of mass transfer and the fabrication of a controlled and functional histoarchitecture. These emerging technologies encompass mesoscale (e.g. cell sheets, cell-laden hydrogels and 3D printing) and microscale technologies (e.g. inkjet printing and laser-assisted bioprinting), which are used to manipulate and assemble cell-laden building blocks whose thicknesses correspond to the diffusion limit of metabolites, and present the capacity for cell patterning with microscale precision, respectively. Here, we review recent technological advances and further discuss how these technologies are complementary, and could therefore be combined for the biofabrication of organotypic tissues either in vitro, thus serving as realistic tissue models, or within a clinic setting. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.
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