Morphogenesis and tissue engineering of bone and cartilage: Inductive signals, stem cells, and biomimetic biomaterials

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

330 Scopus citations


Morphogenesis is the developmental cascade of pattern formation, body plan establishment, and the architecture of mirror-image bilateral symmetry of many structures and asymmetry of some, culminating in the adult form. Tissue engineering is the emerging discipline of design and construction of spare parts for the human body to restore function based on principles of molecular developmental biology and morphogenesis governed by bioengineering. The three key ingredients for both morphogenesis and tissue engineering are inductive signals, responding stem cells, and the extracellular matrix. Among the many tissues in the human body, bone has considerable powers for regeneration and is a prototype model for tissue engineering based on morphogenesis. Implantation of demineralized bone matrix into subcutaneous sites results in local bone induction. This model mimics sequential limb morphogenesis and permitted the isolation of bone morphogens. Although it is traditional to study morphogenetic signals in embryos, bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs), the inductive signals for bone, were isolated from demineralized bone matrix from adults. BMPs and related cartilage-derived morphogenetic proteins (CDMPs) initiate, promote, and maintain chondrogenesis and osteogenesis and have actions beyond bone. The symbiosis of bone inductive and conductive strategies are critical for tissue engineering, and is in turn governed by the context and biomechanics. The context is the microenvironment, consisting of extracellular matrix, which can be duplicated by biomimetic biomaterials such as collagens, hydroxyapatite, proteoglycans, and cell adhesion proteins including fibronectins. Thus, the rules of architecture for tissue engineering are an imitation of the laws of developmental biology and morphogenesis, and thus may be universal for all tissues, including bones and joints.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)351-359
Number of pages9
JournalTissue Engineering
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Morphogenesis and tissue engineering of bone and cartilage: Inductive signals, stem cells, and biomimetic biomaterials'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this