Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Natural tissues and organs exhibit an array of spatial gradients, from the polarized neural tube during embryonic development to the osteochondral interface present at articulating joints. The strong structure-function relationships in these heterogeneous tissues have sparked intensive research into the development of methods that can replicate physiological gradients in engineered tissues. In this Review, we consider different gradients present in natural tissues and discuss their critical importance in functional tissue engineering. Using this basis, we consolidate the existing fabrication methods into four categories: additive manufacturing, component redistribution, controlled phase changes, and postmodification. We have illustrated this with recent examples, highlighted prominent trends in the field, and outlined a set of criteria and perspectives for gradient fabrication.

Original publication




Journal article


Trends Biotechnol

Publication Date





150 - 164


biofabrication, gradient, heterogeneity, tissue engineering, Biocompatible Materials, Tissue Engineering, Tissue Scaffolds