3D printed multiphasic scaffolds for osteochondral repair: Challenges and opportunities
International Journal of Molecular Sciences
Osteochondral (OC) defects are debilitating joint injuries characterized by the loss of full thickness articular cartilage along with the underlying calcified cartilage through to the subchondral bone. While current surgical treatments can provide some relief from pain, none can fully repair all the components of the OC unit and restore its native function. Engineering OC tissue is challenging due to the presence of the three distinct tissue regions. Recent advances in additive manufacturing provide unprecedented control over the internal microstructure of bioscaffolds, the patterning of growth factors and the encapsulation of potentially regenerative cells. These developments are ushering in a new paradigm of ‘multiphasic’ scaffold designs in which the optimal micro-environment for each tissue region is individually crafted. Although the adoption of these techniques provides new opportunities in OC research, it also introduces challenges, such as creating tissue interfaces, integrating multiple fabrication techniques and co-culturing different cells within the same construct. This review captures the considerations and capabilities in developing 3D printed OC scaf-folds, including materials, fabrication techniques, mechanical function, biological components and design.
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