As our population demographics change, osteoarthritis and cartilage defects are becoming more prevalent. The discovery of stems cells and their ability for indefinite regeneration has revolutionised the way cartilage problems are viewed. Tissue engineering has been shown to be the ideal way of repairing articular cartilage lesions, i.e. back to native tissue. Cartilage is an ideal tissue engineering target as it is avascular, aneural and alymphatic. The two main types of stem cells being investigated in chondrogenesis are embryological and mesenchymal stem cells. Research into embryological stem cells has been surrounded by controversy because of ethical, religious and social concerns. We discuss the use of embryological and mesenchymal stem cells in cartilage repair and the various factors involved in the differentiation into chondrocytes. We also discuss commonly used mesenchymal stem cell markers and their limitations.
Keywords: Cartilage repair, cell surface markers, chondrogenesis, mesenchymal stem cells, osteoarthritis, tissue engineering, Cell markers, HYPOXIA, Biodegradable porous polymer
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