Local cartilage or osteochondral lesions are painful and harmful. Besides pain and limited
function of joints, cartilage defect is considered as one of the leading extrinsic risk factors for osteoarthritis
(OA). Thus, clinicians and scientists have paid great attention to regenerative therapeutic
methods for the early treatment of cartilaginous defects. Regenerative medicine, showing great hope
for regenerating cartilage tissue, relies on the combination of biodegradable scaffolds and particular
biological factors, such as growth factors, genetic cues. Among all biomaterials, hydrogels have become
a promising type of scaffolds for simultaneous cell growth and drug delivery in cartilage tissue
engineering. A wide range of animal models have been applied in testing repair with hydrogels in
cartilage defects. This review summarized the current animal models used to test hydrogels technologies
for the regeneration of cartilage. Advantages and disadvantages in the establishment of the cartilage
defect animal models among different species were emphasized, as well as the feasibility of replication
of diseases in animals.
Keywords: Cartilage regeneration, chondrocyte, hydrogels, stem cell, tissue engineering, scaffolds.
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