Articular cartilage serves as the load-bearing material of joints. One approach to functional tissue engineering is to recapitulate the biochemical and mechanical function of healthy native cartilage in vitro, prior to implantation. We have been successful in cultivating engineered cartilage with compressive mechanical properties and glycosaminoglycan (GAG) content near native values by encapsulating chondrocytes or stem cells in a clinically relevant hydrogel [1, 2]. Clinical application of functional engineered cartilage will likely use of chondrocytes (AC) from osteoarthritic tissue or mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), which have been shown to have chondrogenic potential. That is, it is may be more feasible to differentiate healthy MSCs towards a chondrogenic lineage than to ‘reprogram’ ACs acquired from an osteoarthritic joint.

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