Cartilage is one of the critical tissues existed in human and animal bodies. Unlike most tissues, cartilage does not have blood vessels, nerves, and lymphatics. Most cartilage tissues in vivo are subjected to large mechanical loads, and its principal function is to provide a smooth and lubricated surface to facilitate the transmission of mechanical loads with a low frictional coefficient. As a result, cartilage tissues are easily injured. Cartilage defects are frequently caused by trauma, aging, congenital diseases (osteochondritis), and many more factors such as endocrine pathologies and cancer. The damaged cartilage has a limited capacity for healing and repairing. Thus, restoration of normal structure and function to damaged cartilage is one of the most challenging areas in orthopedic research and sports medicine. Tissue engineering provides a prospective alternative strategy by seeding chondrogenic cells into or onto biocompatible scaffolds to produce engineer cartilage for damaged cartilage repair. This book chapter has summarized recent progress in cartilage tissue engineering including stem cells, growth factors, bioactive molecules, and biomaterial scaffolds used for cartilage regeneration. The procedures for some new approaches have also been described.
Part of the book: Cartilage Tissue Engineering and Regeneration Techniques