Authors: Wescoe KE, Schugar RC, Chu CR, Deasy BM.
Title: The Role of the Biochemical and Biophysical Environment in Chondrogenic Stem Cell Differentiation Assays and Cartilage Tissue Engineering.
Summary: The field of regenerative medicine offers hope for the development of a cell-based therapy for the repair of articular cartilage (AC). Yet, the greatest challenge in the use of stem cells for tissue repair, is understanding how the cells respond to stimuli and using that knowledge to direct cell fate. Novel methods that utilize stem cells in cartilage regeneration will require specific spatio-temporal controls of the biochemical and biophysical signaling environments. Current chondrogenic differentiation research focuses on the roles of biochemical stimuli like growth factors, hormones, and small molecules, and the role of the physical environment and mechanical stimuli, such as compression and shear stress, which likely act through mechanical receptors. Numerous signals are associated with chondrogenic-like activity of cells in different systems, however many variables for a controlled method still need to be optimized; e.g., spatial and temporal application of the stimuli, and time of transplantation of an engineered construct. Understanding the necessary microenvironmental signals for cell differentiation will advance cell therapy for cartilage repair.
Source: Cell Biochem Biophys. 2008;52(2):85-102.