Contributions from multidisciplinary investigations have focused attention on the potential of tissue engineering to yield novel therapeutics. Congenital malformations, including cleft palate, craniosynostosis, and craniofacial skeletal hypoplasias represent excellent targets for the implementation of tissue engineering applications secondary to the technically challenging nature and inherent inadequacies of current reconstructive interventions. Apropos to the search for answers to these clinical conundrums, studies have focused on elucidating the molecular signals driving the biologic activity of the aforementioned maladies. These investigations have highlighted multiple signaling pathways, including Wnt, fibroblast growth factor, transforming growth factor-beta, and bone morphogenetic proteins, that have been found to play critical roles in guided tissue development. Furthermore, a comprehensive knowledge of these pathways will be of utmost importance to the optimization of future cell-based tissue engineering strategies. The scope of this review encompasses a discussion of the molecular biology involved in the development of cleft palate and craniosynostosis. In addition, we include a discussion of craniofacial distraction osteogenesis and how its applied forces influence cell signaling to guide endogenous bone regeneration. Finally, this review discusses the future role of cell-based tissue engineering in the treatment of congenital malformations.
View details for Web of Science ID 000255311900014
View details for PubMedID 18427300