Author(s): Schulz RM, Bader A
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Abstract Damage to and degeneration of articular cartilage is a major health issue in industrialized nations. Articular cartilage has a particularly limited capacity for auto regeneration. At present, there is no established therapy for a sufficiently reliable and durable replacement of damaged articular cartilage. In this, as well as in other areas of regenerative medicine, tissue engineering methods are considered to be a promising therapeutic component. Nevertheless, there remain obstacles to the establishment of tissue-engineered cartilage as a part of the routine therapy for cartilage defects. One necessary aspect of potential tissue engineering-based therapies for cartilage damage that requires both elucidation and progress toward practical solutions is the reliable, cost effective cultivation of suitable tissue. Bioreactors and associated methods and equipment are the tools with which it is hoped that such a supply of tissue-engineered cartilage can be provided. The fact that in vivo adaptive physical stimulation influences chondrocyte function by affecting mechanotransduction leads to the development of specifically designed bioreactor devices that transmit forces like shear, hydrostatic pressure, compression, and combinations thereof to articular and artificial cartilage in vitro. This review summarizes the basic knowledge of chondrocyte biology and cartilage dynamics together with the exploration of the various biophysical principles of cause and effect that have been integrated into bioreactor systems for the cultivation and stimulation of chondrocytes.
This article was published in Eur Biophys J
and referenced in Journal of Bioengineering and Bioelectronics