Articular cartilage is the load-bearing tissue found inside all articulating joints of the body. It vastly reduces friction and allows for smooth gliding between contacting surfaces. The structure of articular cartilage matrix and cellular composition is zonal and is important for its mechanical properties. When cartilage becomes injured through trauma or disease, it has poor intrinsic healing capabilities. The spectrum of cartilage injury ranges from isolated areas of the joint to diffuse breakdown and the clinical appearance of osteoarthritis. Current clinical treatment options remain limited in their ability to restore cartilage to its normal functional state. This review focuses on the evolution of biomaterial scaffolds that have been used for functional cartilage tissue engineering. In particular, we highlight recent developments in multiscale biofabrication approaches attempting to recapitulate the complex 3D matrix of native articular cartilage tissue. Additionally, we focus on the application of these methods to engineering each zone of cartilage and engineering full-thickness osteochondral tissues for improved clinical implantation. These methods have shown the potential to control individual cell-to-scaffold interactions and drive progenitor cell differentiation into a chondrocyte lineage. The use of these bioinspired nanoengineered scaffolds hold promise for recreation of structure and function on the whole tissue level and may represent exciting new developments for future clinical applications for cartilage injury and restoration.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering