MR imaging of artificial musculoskeletal tissues: bridging the gap between basic science and clinical reality

Michail E Klontzas, Apostolos H Karantanas


The fields of regenerative medicine and tissue engineering are growing rapidly in an attempt to combine scaffolds, cells and growth factors that will develop into artificial im- plants for the regeneration of damaged human tissues. In vitro development of artificial musculoskeletal tissues can offer solutions to complex clinical problems such as the re- pair of large cartilage defects, the compensation for bone loss during revision joint arthroplasty and the repair of full-thickness tendon tears. However, clinical applications are currently limited due to safety and efficiency consid- erations but also due to the lack of co-operation between basic scientists, engineers and clinicians. Imaging of engineered tissue constructs can aid the design of patient-spe- cific tissues, offering sensitive and specific monitoring of the in vitro development process, evaluation of treatment efficacy in preclinical models, non-invasive evaluation of the healing process and early detection of post-treatment complications. Despite its wide use in regenerative medi- cine, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has mainly been utilised for the assessment of artificial constructs in the in vitro and preclinical stage. This review presents the use of MRI for the evaluation of artificial tissues at all stages, from in vitro development to clinical implantation, highlighting the need for interdisciplinary collaboration.


MR imaging; Tissue engineering; Stem cells; Scaffolds; Regenerative medicine

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