Tissue engineering (TE) is a multidisciplinary science, which including principles from material science, biology and medicine aims to develop biological substitutes to restore damaged tissues and organs. A major challenge in TE is the choice of suitable biomaterial to fabricate a scaffold that mimics native extracellular matrix guiding resident stem cells to regenerate the functional tissue. Ideally, the biomaterial should be tailored in order that the final scaffold would be (i) biodegradable to be gradually replaced by regenerating new tissue, (ii) mechanically similar to the tissue to regenerate, (iii) porous to allow cell growth as nutrient, oxygen and waste transport and (iv) bioactive to promote cell adhesion and differentiation. With this perspective, this review discusses the options and challenges facing biomaterial selection when a scaffold has to be designed. We highlight the possibilities in the final mold the materials should assume and the most effective techniques for its fabrication depending on the target tissue, including the alternatives to ameliorate its bioactivity. Furthermore, particular attention has been given to the influence that all these aspects have on resident cells considering the frontiers of materiobiology. In addition, a focus on chitosan as a versatile biomaterial for TE scaffold fabrication has been done, highlighting its latest advances in the literature on bone, skin, cartilage and cornea TE.
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