Cartilage tissue engineering and bioreactor systems for the cultivation and stimulation of chondrocytes
In the last 5 to 10 years, tissue engineering has revolutionized the way in which medical researchers and clinicians are thinking of and, in some cases, actually treating diseases involving tissue damage and destruction. One such disease, osteoarthritis, results from progressive degeneration of articular cartilage, which has a limited ability to repair itself. With tissue engineering, scientists are now able to regenerate cartilage in vitro from isolated mature chondrocytes. While the regeneration process is still not fully understood, enough has been learned that physicians are already implanting cultured chondrocytes into humans and other animals in the hopes of effecting joint repair. One aspect which has not been fully explored is the effect of mechanical stress on developing and implanted cartilage, especially over the long term. This article will review in brief what is now known about the mechanical factors affecting cartilage regeneration in vitro and what still remains to be determined for optimum tissue engineering of cartilage constructs. (c) 1996 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.