Bioengineering of articular cartilage: past, present and future
The treatment of cartilage defects poses a clinical challenge owing to the lack of intrinsic regenerative capacity of cartilage. The use of tissue engineering techniques to bioengineer articular cartilage is promising and may hold the key to the successful regeneration of cartilage tissue. Natural and synthetic biomaterials have been used to recreate the microarchitecture of articular cartilage through multilayered biomimetic scaffolds. Acellular scaffolds preserve the microarchitecture of articular cartilage through a process of decellularization of biological tissue. Although promising, this technique often results in poor biomechanical strength of the graft. However, biomechanical strength could be improved if biomaterials could be incorporated back into the decellularized tissue to overcome this limitation.