Updated in 4/19/2011 12:05:08 PM      Viewed: 755 times      (Journal Article)
The American journal of sports medicine 26 (2): 309-24 (1998)

Articular cartilage repair.

A P Newman
Articular cartilage can tolerate a tremendous amount of intensive and repetitive physical stress. However, it manifests a striking inability to heal even the most minor injury. Both the remarkable functional characteristics and the healing limitations reflect the intricacies of its structure and biology. Cartilage is composed of chondrocytes embedded within an extracellular matrix of collagens, proteoglycans, and noncollagenous proteins. Together, these substances maintain the proper amount of water within the matrix, which confers its unique mechanical properties. The structure and composition of articular cartilage varies three-dimensionally, according to its distance from the surface and in relation to the distance from the cells. The stringent structural and biological requirements imply that any tissue capable of successful repair or replacement of damaged articular cartilage should be similarly constituted. The response of cartilage to injury differs from that of other tissues because of its avascularity, the immobility of chondrocytes, and the limited ability of mature chondrocytes to proliferate and alter their synthetic patterns. Therapeutic efforts have focused on bringing in new cells capable of chondrogenesis, and facilitating access to the vascular system. This review presents the basic science background and clinical experience with many of these methods and information on synthetic implants and biological adhesives. Although there are many exciting avenues of study that warrant enthusiasm, many questions remain. These issues need to be addressed by careful basic science investigations and both short- and long-term clinical trials using controlled, prospective, randomized study design.
ISSN: 0363-5465