Articular cartilage injuries, often caused by trauma, have a limited potential to heal, which over time, may lead to osteoarthritis, an inflammatory and degenerative joint disease frequently associated with activity-related pain, swelling and impaired mobility. Many treatment modalities have been introduced but with limited success due to the formation of inferior fibrocartilage at the damaged area/injured site during the repair process. Pluripotent stem cells (human embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells) provide a valuable cell source for critical understanding of pluripotency and lineage-specific differentiation, as well as for derivation of therapeutic mesenchymal cells and chondrocytes for articular cartilage repair. Here, we discuss the characteristics of pluripotent stem cells, their differentiation pathways to mesenchymal progenitors and chondrocytes, and their emerging roles in cartilage regeneration.
Part of the book: Pluripotent Stem Cells