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The extracellular matrix (ECM) of various tissues possesses the model characteristics that biomaterials for tissue engineering strive to mimic; however, owing to the intricate hierarchical nature of the ECM, it has yet to be fully characterized and synthetically fabricated. Cartilage repair remains a challenge because the intrinsic properties that enable its durability and long-lasting function also impede regeneration. In the last decade, cartilage ECM has emerged as a promising biomaterial for regenerating cartilage, partly because of its potentially chondroinductive nature. As this research area of cartilage matrix-based biomaterials emerged, investigators facing similar challenges consequently developed convergent solutions in constructing robust and bioactive scaffolds. This review discusses the challenges, emerging trends, and future directions of cartilage ECM scaffolds, including a comparison between two different forms of cartilage matrix: decellularized cartilage (DCC) and devitalized cartilage (DVC). To overcome the low permeability of cartilage matrix, physical fragmentation greatly enhances decellularization, although the process itself may reduce the chondroinductivity of fabricated scaffolds. The less complex processing of a scaffold composed of DVC, which has not been decellularized, appears to have translational advantages and potential chondroinductive and mechanical advantages over DCC, without detrimental immunogenicity, to ultimately enhance cartilage repair in a clinically relevant way. © 2016 New York Academy of Sciences.


Emi A Kiyotake, Emily C Beck, Michael S Detamore. Cartilage extracellular matrix as a biomaterial for cartilage regeneration. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 2016 Nov;1383(1):139-159

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PMID: 27870078

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