Advanced Strategies for Articular Cartilage Defect Repair
Articular cartilage is a unique tissue owing to its ability to withstand repetitive compressive stress throughout an individual’s lifetime. However, its major limitation is the inability to heal even the most minor injuries. There still remains an inherent lack of strategies that stimulate hyaline-like articular cartilage growth with appropriate functional properties. Recent scientific advances in tissue engineering have made significant steps towards development of constructs for articular cartilage repair. In particular, research has shown the potential of biomaterial physico-chemical properties significantly influencing the proliferation, differentiation and matrix deposition by progenitor cells. Accordingly, this highlights the potential of using such properties to direct the lineage towards which such cells follow. Moreover, the use of soluble growth factors to enhance the bioactivity and regenerative capacity of biomaterials has recently been adopted by researchers in the field of tissue engineering. In addition, gene therapy is a growing area that has found noteworthy use in tissue engineering partly due to the potential to overcome some drawbacks associated with current growth factor delivery systems. In this context, such advanced strategies in biomaterial science, cell-based and growth factor-based therapies that have been employed in the restoration and repair of damaged articular cartilage will be the focus of this review article.